Mohammed Ibrar Aslam, 47, was arrested by police almost 20 years after he attacked a woman in a Bradford house in 2001.
West Yorkshire Police’s Cold Case Review Team began a new inquiry last year following advances in forensics science and following a time-consuming investigation Aslam was identified as a potential suspect for a DNA test.
Leeds Crown Court heard today (Thurs) that information about Aslam, of Hartopp Road, Birmingham, had been circulated via police and E-Border systems and on January 8 this year police officers from the West Midlands found him on board an Emirates flight at Birmingham International Airport waiting to take off for Pakistan via Dubai.
“He was literally just moments away from leaving the jurisdiction,” said prosecutor Stephen Wood.
Aslam was transferred to Wakefield for questioning and initially denied being responsible for the offence or knowing the woman.
But in February he pleaded to the rape charge after his DNA matched samples taken from the victim 18 years and today Judge Simon Phillips QC sentenced him to 11 years and three months in jail.
Back in March 2001 the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been drinking in Halifax with friends before she left a nightclub on her own in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Wood said the woman was very intoxicated and remembered staggering about and feeling ill before a car stopped and someone asked if she was alright.
The court heard that her next recollection was lying face down on a double bed.
Mr Wood said: ”She had no idea who she was with or where she was.”
She was offered a cup of tea and allowed to put her clothes back on before they gave her lift in a car from Bradford back to the Halifax area.
The woman, who got back to her family home at about 5.30am, gave a statement about the rape to police, but despite extensive inquiries at the time the crime remained undetected for nearly two decades.
“The presence of the defendant’s semen indicates that the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim at a time when she was incapable of giving informed consent,” said Mr Wood.
“His guilty plea accepts that due to her intoxicated state he had no belief, reasonable or otherwise, that she was consenting.”
Mr Wood read from victim impact statements in which the woman described the severe psychological effects the attack had on her leaving her with feelings of anger, shame and paranoia.
She said at the rape she “felt like a piece of meat being used” and added:”The only thing I thought I could do was become completely detached and try to ignore what was happening to me.
“I feel as though I have lost important parts of my sanity. I will always feel unclean and suffer from very low self esteem.”
Mr Wood said the prosecution could not say that Aslam, who was 29 at the time of the rape, was involved in abducting the woman off the streets and taking her to the stranger’s house, but he said the defendant must have known that had happened.
“There was prolonged detention and she was particularly vulnerable because of her intoxication,” he added.
Barrister Soheil Khan, for Aslam, said his client had expressed deep remorse for what had been a “one-off” incident and he wanted to apologise to the victim.
“He acknowledges that his actions will have impacted on his victim in ways beyond his imagination,” said Mr Khan.
Jailing Aslam Judge Phillips said the police investigation was a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the team of officers involved.
The judge told Aslam via a video link to Leeds Prison that he had ruined his victim’s life.
“No sentence that the court passes can compensate for the devastating impact upon her,” the judge added.
“Effectively for every hour of every day for the past 18 years when she has been conscious the victim of your offence has been disastrously affected by your actions and the overwhelming expectation is that will remain the situation for the foreseeable future.”