A RAPIST fled the country after being caught sexually assaulting an 18-year-old girl at a house party in Burnley.

Only when the young victim, from Blackburn, awoke after a drinking session at a home in the Stoneyholme district of Burnley, did she realise she was being raped by 28-year-old Imran Nawaz, a court heard.

Burnley Crown Court was told that the girl immediately tried to call the police, but was stopped by one of Nawaz’s friends.

Prosecutor Robert Elias said that the same friends then drove Nawaz to Birmingham’s New Street railway station.

From there he boarded a service to Heathrow Airport, and flew out to his native Pakistan.

Mr Elias said when Nawaz attempted to re-enter the country at Heathrow, via a flight from Islamabad, on May 14 this year, he was detained by the authorities.

Nawaz, of no fixed address, who admitted rape, was jailed for three-and-a-half years by Judge Jonathan Gibson.

Passing sentence, Judge Gibson said: “Any offence of rape is particularly serious because sexual offending of this kind causes untold harm to victims.”

Mr Elias said the victim had been drinking vodka and cokes with three men, including Nawaz, with another girl.

He told the court it was likely that the girls were drinking stronger measures than the men, who appeared to hold back.

Later the second girl was given a lift home, leaving the victim with Nawaz and two other men, and they carried on drinking. The court heard the men smoked cannabis and the teenager recalled how she felt ‘drowsy’.

The court was told the victim fell asleep but was awoken at around 4am by a pain in her back. She went back to sleep but between 5am and 6am she reawoke to find Nawaz raping her.

She got up and saw the defendant’s boxer shorts were around his ankles. He said nothing but ran into the kitchen, the court heard.

Mr Elias said the victim wrapped herself in a cover and noticed the other two men, who were pretending to be asleep.

She made an attempt to call the police but one of the men spotted her and stopped her.

Nawaz and his friends then fled the house and travlled to Birmingham, Mr Elias said.

Within minutes of them leaving the victim managed to get through to he police and reported the rape.

Police later found a used condom in the property, which could be linked to Nawaz, indicating he had had sex with the girl more than once.

Patrick Harrison, defending, said his client “bitterly regretted” his actions and knew he had brought shame on his family.

His wife back in Pakistan suffered from heart problems and Nawaz had volunteered for deportation, so he could serve part of his sentence in his home country, the court heard.

Mr Harrison said that the offence was not pre-planned and the defendant’s actions were probably impaired by the amount of vodka he had consumed.