Barrowford teen’s rape sentence increased by Court of Appeal

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IN a case described as “the ultimate nightmare for any woman”, a teenager who raped a vulnerable widow at knifepoint in her own home has had his sentence increased by top judges.

Farhan Ahmed broke into his 64-year-old victim’s home, before subjecting her to a horrifying attack lasting nearly two hours, Appeal Court judges heard.

The 18-year-old, of Park Avenue, Barrowford, was put behind bars indefinitely for public protection at Burnley Crown Court in June, after being convicted of two counts of rape, attempted rape and assault by penetration.

He was ordered to serve at least five years before the Parole Board would even consider whether it would be safe to release him.

However, that minimum term was challenged as “unduly lenient” by Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC, and the country’s top judge increased it to six years.

Also dismissing Ahmed’s appeal against his open-ended sentence - which is one down from a life term - Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said he was so dangerous the indefinite term was justified, although this was his first offence.

He told the court: “We have come to the conclusion that, for this particular offender, the public protection requires the sentence of last-but-one resort should be imposed.”

Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Butterfield and Mr Justice Henriques, told the court Ahmed committed the offences on October 28th last year.

The attack was “planned and premeditated”, as the teenager went around Burnley armed with a stick “looking for a woman to have sex with, whether she consented or not”.

He broke into his victim’s home about 1-30 a.m. and, hearing a noise, she went to the kitchen to investigate. Ahmed had picked up two knives in the kitchen and threatened her with them as he carried out the first of his sickening attacks.

Forcing her upstairs, he told her he would kill her if he found anyone there, before subjecting her to further sex attacks. After nearly two hours, he left the victim’s house and was arrested two days later.

Ahmed claimed the sexual activity between him and the victim was consensual, but was disbelieved by the jury and convicted.

Lord Judge said: “He was determined to find a woman to have sex with - whether she wanted to or not - and, in the real world, the possibility of consent in those circumstances is utterly absurd.”

In a victim impact statement, the victim said the “anguish and torment” she had been caused by the incident could never be underestimated.

She added: “The following months greeted me with a rollercoaster of emotions. The direct effect has been noises. Any noise I hear hits me and reminds me of how the nightmare started - with what I thought was a noise from my fridge.

“I cannot go into my kitchen at night, my house is not the same any more. I am not the same any more.”

A report prepared by the probation service found Ahmed was a danger to the public, as he still did not accept responsibility for his actions and showed a “callous disregard” for his victim and a complete lack of remorse.

Mr Garnier argued the minimum term of five years was too short, saying it did not reflect the aggravating features of Ahmed’s crimes.

Ahmed’s lawyers contended he should not have been given the open-ended sentence, but a fixed term with an extended licence period on release.

However, Lord Judge said he agreed with the imposition of an indeterminate sentence in Ahmed’s case, and increased his minimum term by a year.

He told the court: “There were opportunities which might have led the offender to reflect for just one brief moment about what he was doing to this woman - instead, the attack went on and on.”