The jury in the trial of a pizza delivery man who is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl were sent home last night having yet to reach a verdict.
The panel of seven women and four men, which was reduced earlier in the week when one man dropped out, retired to consider their verdict in the case of Tahir Mehmood.
The 27-year-old, who worked for Dominos in West Swindon, is said to have forced himself on the child after giving her a lift home late at night in summer 2012. He denies any wrongdoing.
Before they retired to consider their verdicts Judge Douglas Field summed up the case to them and warned them to consider the evidence ‘dispassionately’.
He told them that they may have come to the court with ‘assumptions’ about rape and what a person who rapes, and is raped, is like.
He said: “Experience tells the court there is no stereotype for a rape. The offence can take place in almost any circumstance between all sorts of people who react in a variety of ways.
“You have to review the evidence dispassionately. Don’t let any sympathy for the girl or Mr Mehmood sway you. Your verdicts must turn on what you have heard in evidence and nothing else.”
It is alleged that Mehmood plied the teenager with drink before raping her at an empty bungalow he kept for when family visited from Pakistan.
He insisted she look round the property as he took her home late at night, she said, and when showing her the bedroom he threw her on the bed and raped her as she screamed ‘no’.
She said she was too ashamed to report the matter straight away and the court was told she revealed what happened bit by bit in conversations with her best friend.
The girl initially told her they had sex, but when the other girl said he had also been asking her to sleep with him, she said he had forced himself on her.
Mehmood, who is married and has four step-children, says the girl, who he didn’t know was underage, consented to sex.
He said after asking for a lift, the girl then told him to get her some wine at Tesco, and then said she didn’t want to go home.
He said he took her to the bungalow because he needed to check the post there and insisted she was a willing partner when they had sex.
And a former colleague of the defendant said the girl told her she had slept with him so he would buy her booze for the school prom after-party.
Mehmood, of Ermin Street, Stratton, denies rape and sexual activity with a child.