Sunday, October 23, 2016

Student's fury after Syrian migrant rapist was allowed to skip bail and flee abroad during his trial

  • Taxi driver suspected of drugging victim, who he picked up on a night out
  • She was subjected to an eight-hour rape ordeal at a house in Chester
  • Migrant was given bail, but disappeared to Turkey during his trial
  • His victim says she feels she has been cheated of justice and closure
A university student raped by a Syrian migrant who was allowed to skip bail and flee abroad midway through his trial says she has been ‘cheated of justice.’

The woman, 21, said she was ‘shocked and terrified’ that Sultan Amari, 46, was now free – despite being convicted of the horrific attack.

The taxi driver, who was given a 11-year jail sentence in his absence, was granted bail during his trial because prosecutors believed he was not a ‘flight risk.’

 But he was allowed to keep his passport and sent an email to the court saying he had no intention of returning to learn his fate.

Investigations later revealed he had boarded a plane to Turkey.

Sultan Amari fled during his trial, at which he was found guilty of raping a student. His victim has now spoken of her anger that he has escaped justice and is free to rape again
Sultan Amari fled during his trial, at which he was found guilty of raping a student. His victim has now spoken of her anger that he has escaped justice and is free to rape again

Last night his tearful victim, who comes from a middle-class upbringing, broke down as she revealed that she felt ‘let down’ by the justice system. 

She said she now feared Amari would never serve jail time for what he had done.

‘I feel absolutely cheated of justice,’ the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said.
‘It’s just shocking that he is now free to maybe do the same thing to someone else – it’s so difficult to take in.

‘I’ve been waiting 18 months for this guilty verdict, it was meant to be my closure, now to think I might not ever get it, I’m so angry.

‘The Crown Prosecution Service were brilliant with my case and this man was convicted. But now, after all I’ve been through, I feel so let down that he was allowed to leave and not serve his sentence.

‘Measures should have been put in place to stop him going abroad. Anybody who is on trial for a crime ought to have their passport taken off them.

 He (Amari) was foreign, he had hardly any links to Britain, but had links to Turkey and Jordan, it was an easy escape route for him.’

Tory MP Chris Matheson, who is helping the victim’s family seek answers, said: ‘It’s a complete farce. At the very least this man should have surrendered his passport, he cannot be allowed to evade British justice and everything must now be done to make sure he is brought back here to serve his full sentence without remission.’

Mr Matheson said he would be calling on the Government to urgently review its policy on bail applications so that those suspected of serious crimes were denied their passports.

Warrington Crown Court heard that the woman, who was studying in Chester, Cheshire, was picked up by Amari at around 9pm on July 11 last year.

She had drunk two bottles of wine and a cocktail with friends after work and was ‘obviously drunk,’ the jury were told.

He took her to an unfurnished property, around half a mile away, where he raped her twice over a period of eight hours.

The court heard that the victim initially had no memory of what had happened between leaving a bar in the city centre and waking up naked the following morning, but she later had flashbacks of lying face-down on a mattress, unable to move her arms or open her eyes, while a man had sex with her.

She suspects that either her drink was spiked or Amari drugged her with the heroin substitute methadone, which was later found in her urine following toxicology tests.

MP Chris Matheson branded the events surrounding the trial 'a complete farce'
MP Chris Matheson branded the events surrounding the trial 'a complete farce'
Amari, who had a girlfriend at the time, told police the woman consented to sex and he went back out to work when she fell asleep.

The victim told investigators there was no one in the house when she woke up at around 4.30am. She left hurriedly before calling police.

In a tearful 999 call, that was played to the jury, she said: ‘I have been to a house with no furniture in it and my bag is gone and I don’t know how I got there.

‘I went for drinks after work last night and I can’t remember anything else. I have no idea where I am.’

She told the Daily Mail: ‘When I woke up I was just so confused and scared. I had no idea where I was. After I called the police I had a panic attack and collapsed to the floor.

 An officer had to help me into the car. I just felt so numb.

‘It crossed my mind that it could have been so much worse, he could have killed me.’

Amari, of Flint, north Wales, denied two counts of rape, but the jury of seven women and five men took just over six hours to find him guilty by a majority a fortnight ago.

It later emerged that the father-of-one had been absent from the trial for the last three days after sending an email to the court saying he had no intention of returning.

Checks made on Amari’s passport by police revealed that he had boarded a plane on Sunday September 25 and landed in Istanbul the following morning.

The victim added: ‘I was so scared when I was told (he had fled the UK) – I was terrified he might come back to threaten me.

‘This sort of thing happens on television, not real life.

 I just don’t think they are likely to find him.’

The woman, who managed to complete her degree and hopes to train as a primary school teacher, said she was fearful that Amari, who was spotted close to her home in the lead up to the trial despite being banned from coming within a mile of her property, could return to Britain on a fake passport and find her.

She said her life had been changed irrevocably by what had happened.

‘I used to be a very outgoing person, but this has definitely changed me,’ she said.

‘I get nervous in large crowds and stay in a lot more than I used to.

 It’s damaged my relationship with my mother, she wants to help me but it’s just so difficult to open up about.’

Geoffrey Fryar, senior district crown prosecutor for Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said Amari, who had no previous convictions, was allowed bail because he denied the offence, was of previous good character and there was nothing to suggest he would leave the country.

He added: ‘He was on police bail throughout the investigation and throughout the court process on conditional bail to reside at his home address and not to make contact with the victim.

‘There was no information to suggest he was a flight risk.’

A spokesman for Cheshire police confirmed a warrant had been issued for Amari’s arrest but so far he hadn’t been traced. 

They urged anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact them. 

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