Araz Khdir ran up to the young girl, who was walking home from a friend's house, and 'grabbed her from behind'
A delivery driver has been found guilty of “hunting” a teenage girl and subjecting her to a “horrific” and “brutal” sex attack.
Araz Khdir ran up to the young girl, who was walking home from a friend's house, in a dimly-lit wooded area near Ormesby Road, Normanby and “grabbed her from behind.”
The 40-year-old has been standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl on the night of February 17.
Khdir, who protested his innocence throughout proceedings, was found guilty by a jury of 12 people on Thursday.
The trial heard that he stifled the girl's screams with his hand and then threw her to the floor before demanding: “Give me a kiss”.
He dragged her “six-feet” from the path and then “violently” sexually assaulted her while pinning her to the ground.
Terrified, the girl managed to break free and “ran as fast as she could” away from Khdir, leaving one of her boots behind.
Residents nearby described hearing “screams”, with one witness seeing a shadowy figure “appearing to look for something”.
The girl, who described her assailant as having an “unusual smell” and a “foreign accent”, immediately told her mum what had happened, and police searched the area.
Luckily, they found the girl's boot and another important clue in the "vast area".
During the struggle, Khdir, who required a Kurdish Sorani interpreter during the trial, had left a black Thinsulate woolly hat behind – and his DNA was found on it.
After further forensic tests, his DNA was also found in the underwear of the teenage girl .
His iPhone was seized and analysis of the phone's geo-location further proved he had been in the area at the time.
But he still denied involvement.
The trial heard that Khdir had been working at Nick's Parmesan House on the night of the attack and was carrying out deliveries in his silver BMW.
He also worked there as an occasional chef and “manager”.
The takeaway was subsequently forced to close after a community backlash following the attack.
Prosecutor, Robin Patton, told the jury that Khdir was out “hunting” for a victim at around 9.17pm and CCTV footage showed his car passing “within feet” of the girl around that time.
His car could be seen turning round in a Spencerbeck Farm driveway and again passing her.
A short time later, he would carry out the sinister attack.
When he was arrested, he claimed it was a complete “coincidence” that his car had passed the girl and insisted he had been carrying out deliveries in the area.
In police interview he suggested the reason his hat was at the scene was because he may have previously “given it to charity”.
He again lied in a second police statement and said at the time of the attack, he had been carrying out deliveries for a friend at another nearby takeaway – but he couldn't recall the name of it.
While giving evidence, Khdir, of Marton Grove Road, who is married, denied any involvement, and called the attack “heinous”.
During cross-examination, Mr Patton said he carried out a “horrific, violent sex attack on a stranger...on a little girl...it was brutal, that’s what it was.”
He added Khdir was a man who clearly “could not control his urges”.
On Thursday, the jury took just over an hour to come to a guilty verdict.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Cat McKenzie of Cleveland Police , said: “Khdir preyed on a young girl who was then subjected to a horrendous sexual assault.
"The victim has been very brave in coming forward and giving evidence to the court, and I commend her for this.
"Khdir will now face a custodial sentence which will mean that other young girls are safeguarded from this dangerous predator.
"I want to take this opportunity to reassure the public that stranger attacks such as this are, thankfully, rare.
"I hope that today’s result goes some way towards helping the young victim move forward with her life.”
Judge Amanda Rippon reserved sentencing of Khdir to herself and remanded him in custody.
He will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on December 20.