A MAN who attacked and raped a schoolgirl at a house in Burnley, has been jailed for four years.

The town’s crown court heard how Abdul Rofiq, 37, had forced himself on his victim as she struggled and had overpowered her.

His actions, in August 2010, left a devastating impact on the girl, but he recently claimed to a probation officer compiling his pre-sentence report that she could not still be suffering any long-term effects.

The hearing was told Rofiq, a married man with a family, denied the attack when arrested and questioned by police in March last year.

In court the defendant, of Bright Street, Burnley, admitted rape. He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and was banned from working with children, both for life.

Prosecuting, Nicholas Courtney told the court the girl had struggled with Rofiq, but he had overpowered her and forced her to her knees before raping her.

The victim did not tell anybody what had happened at the time, but told two school friends some months later. They took her to see a teacher, police were called and the defendant was arrested.

He was interviewed, denied the offence and said he would not do anything like that. Mr Courtney said the defendant had a record, but no convictions for sex offences.

Gwen Henshaw, defending, said Rofiq fully understood what he had done was extremely serious. His family had been torn apart by it.

He said: “He expresses, through me, sincere remorse. He knows he is facing a custodial sentence and he understands the impact of a custodial sentence on his family will be significant.”

Miss Henshaw said the defendant’s family had noted a change in the way he conducted himself, including steering away from drinking. His change in lifestyle meant he was dedicating more time to religion and helping others in the community.

Judge Beverley Lunt said: “I have read the pre-sentence report and many references written by those who know you.

“A large number of those references refer to this offence as having been a mistake. Let it clearly be understood by them and by the public this was not a mistake.

“This was a deliberate and forceful attack, in which you raped her.”

“What you did was selfish, it was wicked and you will now be punished for that.”