By Adam Farnell
A man was handed a life sentence after being convicted of raping a student at knifepoint. The rape occurred in a Rusholme halls of residence after the man broke in through an open window.
Paul Atta, 41, of Roberts Avenue, Rusholme, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday 12 January 2011. Atta was convicted of two counts of rape, one of assault causing actually bodily harm, two counts of burglary and two counts of fraud by false representation. He will serve a minimum of 12 years before being considered for parole.
Atta broke into a Halls of Residence on Lower Park Road in Rusholme in the early hours of Monday 19 July 2010, and entered a 19-year-old woman’s bedroom. He demanded a laptop, and threatened the victim with a knife before raping her twice. Atta then forced the victim to hand over her bankcard and pin number, which he used to withdraw cash from a nearby petrol station later that day.
The conviction includes an incident shortly beforehand, where Atta had broken into Hulme Hall in Rusholme. On the morning of Monday 19 July 2010, Atta, who is also known as Tony, broke into the Halls of Residence and entered a 21-year-old woman’s bedroom. Atta punched the woman, and attempted to steal her laptop. The woman raised the alarm and Atta fled, leaving the laptop behind.
Fingerprints found at the scene of both crimes lead to a national search for Atta. A £10,000 reward was offered for information that would lead to his arrest. Atta was discovered in a house in Old Trafford five days later.
Detective Constables Laura Hughes and Liz Howe, of Longsight CID said: “What Atta did to his victim has left her devastated. ”He is clearly a dangerous man who preyed on students. He obviously saw these women as easy targets and I’ve no doubt he broke into his first victim’s flat with the intention of sexually assaulting her. Hughes continued: “Fortunately he is now behind bars, where he belongs, for a very long time. The streets of Manchester are now much safer. ”I would also like to pay tribute to the dignity and courage of the two victims in this case who have been nothing but co-operative and supportive to our investigation. ”We hope that today’s result makes their support worthwhile and I hope they can now move on,” added Hughes.
Dennis Watson QC, prosecution, said the incidents were “strikingly similar” to Atta’s previous conviction. Atta was jailed for 14 years in March 1990 following the rape of an 18-year-old woman. He pleaded guilty to rape and robbery in January 1991.
Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on 0161 872 5050 or 999 in an emergency. GMP has specially trained officers in place to provide a first class response to victims and help support them through the criminal justice process. St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester can also be contacted on 0161 276 6515. This provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.
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