Rapist sent 'sorry' message to 16-year-old after attack
A rapist was jailed for five and a half years today after sending a message to his schoolgirl victim saying sorry for forcing himself on her.
A judge told Bilaal Afzal: "You were convicted by the jury of the rape of a 16-year-old girl in Edinburgh on April 10 in 2018 while you were the subject of a bail order."
Lord Uist said: "You first attempted to assault her sexually in Holyrood Park before driving her to Lochend Apartments where you had arranged to have an apartment and raping her there."
Lord Uist said that despite Afzal later apologising to the girl through a text message for forcing himself on her he maintained at an earlier trial and to a social worker who prepared a background report on him that the victim consented to the sex.
The judge pointed out that Afzal, 25, has a lengthy criminal record although it did not include sexual offending.
He told Afzal at the High Court in Edinburgh: "It is clear you have been going off the rails over the last few years."
Afzal committed the rape less than a month after he was freed on bail at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
The rapist was told that he would be on the sex offenders' register indefinitely following his conviction.
Lord Uist earlier told jurors that the rape trial was "a first" for him as only two witnesses were called to give evidence - the teenager and her attacker - with the Crown relying on Afzal's own messages to corroborate her testimony.
Afzal had denied assaulting and raping the girl and claimed she was "enjoying" the sex, but his victim was adamant she never consented. He was found guilty of the offence.
The teenager said she had contact with him through the social media network Snapchat.
She said he took her for a drive before arriving at the apartment where he attacked her. She told advocate depute Alan Cameron that she was left feeling "sick" after it.
Afzal, a prisoner in Edinburgh, claimed that he was attracted to the girl and cared for her. He told his trial: "I felt that she felt the same about me."
Afzal, who worked in his father's shop, agreed that he had sent her a message two days later saying he was sorry for forcing himself on her and said: "I thought that's what she wanted to hear from me."
Defence counsel Susan Duff said Afzal has had time to reflect since he has been held in prison from January this year. She said: "This has been a very sobering experience for him."