Convicted rapist 'subjected student to sex attack'

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A convicted rapist broke into a university hall of residence and subjected a teenage student to a terrifying sex attack, a court heard today.







Paul Atta, 40, armed himself with a kitchen knife and marched into the 19-year-old woman's bedroom saying "Would you rather get stabbed or have sex with me?", Liverpool Crown Court heard.



Less than an hour earlier he had fled another University of Manchester residence when a 21-year-old woman he confronted in her bedroom managed to escape and raise the alarm, the prosecution said.



Prosecutor Dennis Watson QC, opening the case, told the jury the attacks were "strikingly similar" to a conviction for rape and robbery which saw Atta jailed for 14 years in 1991.



The defendant denies seven charges of two counts of rape, two of burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of fraudulent use of a bank card.



Mr Watson said the university attacks took place in the early hours of July 19 last year.



He told the jury Atta gained entry to a hall of residence in Rusholme, Manchester, and entered a bedroom after finding the key in the lock on the outside of the door.



"The young woman inside initially thought she was the victim of a prank by fellow students," Mr Watson said.



"But when he began to attack and punch her, she knew it was no joke."



The barrister said Atta continued to punch the 21-year-old as she made her way to the door, screaming for help.



He said: "She was terrified and feared she may be raped or killed.



"So once she got outside the room she screamed as loud as she could and banged on the doors of other rooms."



Mr Watson said Atta initially picked up the woman's laptop to steal it but put it back when her screams alerted other residents.



He then picked up a packet of the victim's cigarettes and fled the building.



One of his fingerprints was later found on the laptop, the court was told.



As police attended the halls and interviewed the student, Mr Watson said Atta made his way to a another university residence nearby where he broke in through a window.



Mr Watson said Atta entered a flat which was unlocked and went into the kitchen where he picked up a knife.



He then entered the bedroom of his second victim, which was also unlocked.



Mr Watson said: "She had heard noises and when she looked at her bedroom door she saw this defendant with a knife in his hand.



"She screamed and he came into the room towards her."









Students in a neighbouring room heard the scream and sent a text message to the victim asking if she was OK, but she was unable to reply and they took no further action.



"Unhappily, the grim reality was this defendant was inside the girl's room and threatening that unless she complied with his demands she would be knifed," Mr Watson said.



Atta demanded the 19-year-old hand over her mobile phone, bank card and laptop and said: "If you scream I will stab you", the prosecutor said.



The defendant also told her: "Would you rather get stabbed or have sex with me?" and, when the girl told him she had no money or laptop, he then said: "If you've got no cash then you can have sex with me", the court heard.



Mr Watson said: "He then raped her. The knife was constantly in his hand or close by."



After the attack, Atta began talking to his victim, telling her that his mother had died and he had not got over it.



The woman, to keep him calm and get him out of her room, spoke to him for about 25 minutes, encouraging him to seek counselling to help him deal with his mother's death, the jury heard.



Mr Watson said: "But his mood changed and he asked again for her laptop and when she said she didn't have one, he said he wanted to have sex with her again.



"When she told him to leave he pushed her on to the bed and said 'you don't dictate'.



"He then forced her to have oral sex."



After this second rape he forced the girl to hand over her bank card and pin number before he left, the court was told.



The card was used to withdraw cash at a petrol station nearby a short time later, Mr Watson said.



The barrister then told the jury about Atta's previous conviction for rape and robbery.



He said: "In March 1990 Paul Atta forced his way into a flat occupied by an 18-year-old woman.



"He demanded money, assaulted her, tied her up and when she told him she had no money he raped her.



"In January 1991 he pleaded guilty to rape and robbery.



"We say, despite it happening 20 years ago, it is beyond coincidence that these offences are strikingly similar."



The trial was adjourned until 10.30am tomorrow.