A TEENAGER who raped two schoolgirls has been sentenced to 13-and-a-half years behind bars.

Kasim Hussain forced himself upon his first victim in Bold Venture Park, Darwen and later grabbed a 15-year-old off the street before attacking her in an isolated area near the town’s railway line.

The 19-year-old, of Hazel Street, Darwen had denied the two rape charges, but was unanimously convicted following trial.

Police said Hussain was a predatory offender who had put his young victims through horrendous ordeals.

Mark Ainsworth, prosecuting, said the first attack happened behind a wooded area at the park.

The 14-year-old victim had agreed to meet Hussain because she believed they were friends, police said. After the attack he told her not to tell anyone.

His second offence took place five weeks later in the early evening of April 25.

"We say there was an element of abduction in relation to that offence", Mr Ainsworth told the court.

Both victims contacted police after the attacks.

The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have since received support from specialist officers and support workers.

The court also heard that one of the girls had apparently been subject to coarse jibes.

Defence barrister Julian Holt said: "He has been in custody since his arrest. He is not responsible for the bad behaviour of other people and his family are not responsible for any of that conduct".

Judge Pamela Badley told Hussain as she passed sentence "There is a significant risk to the public. You have very little insight into what you have been convicted of by the jury.

"Your attitude is one which needs work with. The fact there are two young victims here is significant.”

Hussain’s sentence also carries a five year licence when he is released and he will be on the sex offenders register indefinitely. He was also banned from working with children.

DS Mark Whelan, who led the investigation, said: “Hussain is a predatory offender who targeted young and vulnerable girls for his own gratification.

“I think the girls are doing very well now, between the work of the Engage team, their parents and the girls themselves they are trying to move on.

“I know both girls and their families are extremely pleased with the significant court result. I hope it acts as a deterrent to others tempted to attempted to engage in similar horrendous behaviour.”