An “arrogant, narcissistic and self-obsessed” rapist who violently attacked two men he met through the gay dating app Grindr was sentenced to 15 years today (8 September).
Dr Mohammed Altaher, 38, from Bedford, was jailed for 10 years and given a 5-year sentence extension which means he will be monitored by probation officers on his release until 2038.
The AI specialist attacked the two men, who did not know each other, at his home in August and September 2019.
Prosecutor Nigel Ogborne told St Albans crown court: “The crown case is that both victims withdrew consent to sexual intercourse, but he carried on regardless, raping the victims in an aggressive manner.”
Altaher, of Cardington Road, Bedford, was found guilty at an earlier hearing of two counts of raping a male over 16 as well as one count of sexual assault by penetration on one of the men.
The first had been given the drug MCAT, an illegal stimulant, before being subjected to sexual aggression. At one stage Altaher called another man to the house to indulge in sexual activity before he left.
After that, the victim was penetrated on at least 10 occasions by a shower hose before being raped. He suffered multiple injuries and revealed he had been attacked at a sexual assault referral centre in Brighton.
In a victim statement, the man said he couldn’t at first see himself as a rape victim. He said he did not engage at work and became “like a Zombie.”
The second victim was grabbed, kissed and pushed onto a bed by Altaher as soon as he arrived at his home. He got onto the victim and raped him.
In his victim statement, he said the rape had a “significant impact” on his mental health and well-being. He said he was struggling to be around people and no longer socialised. “I was confident, healthy and outgoing and I now rely on medication.”
Defending, Andrew Cohen said Altaher has a “level of neuro-diversity that meant he did not understand or take signals from other people.” He said he was of previous good character.
He said Altaher, who wanted to be addressed as Dr rather than Mr in court, was an expert in AI.
Jailing him, Recorder Andrew Johnson said the two men had travelled to his home for consensual sex. He said: ” Had you acted differently, that, and nothing other than that, would have occurred.
“But your approach to both of those encounters was to treat both of your victims as objects with whom you could do what you wished, when you wished, as you wished.”
The judge told him he was an intelligent man and was very keen for the jury to know, you have a Doctorate.
He went on, “You are also, however, an arrogant man – or to use the language of the probation officer, from which I do not dissent, ‘quite a narcissistic individual and very self-obsessed’.
“That was apparent when you gave evidence and indeed throughout the trial. You are either unwilling or unable to recognise the perspective of anyone but yourself. Your arrogance is the backdrop to this offending.
“What Dr Altaher wants, Dr Altaher gets, and if what you want is sexual intercourse, then the consent of whoever you want it with matters to you not at all. If you want it to happen, it shall happen.”
The judge praised the investigation, saying: ”I commend those involved in investigating and prosecuting this case for the sensitive and thorough manner in which they did so.
“Whether or not the criticism that is sometimes advanced as to how sexual offending is dealt with by authorities is justified in some cases, as to which I make no comment at all, it certainly would not be in this case, and it is right that I record that.
“Offending of this nature might not have been dealt with in this way in the relatively recent past, and it is both right and proper that has changed.
Dr Altaher, who is appealing against his conviction, must register as a sex offender for life.
Detective Constable Kevin Cheese said: “These were especially nasty, violent rapes. Consent for sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time, and Altaher showed no care or compassion for the victims’ wishes in this case in the face of his own sexual gratification.
“There is undoubtedly underreporting in regards to male victims of sexual violence, and I want to thank both survivors in this case for coming forward and getting a dangerous predator like Altaher off the streets.”
Reporting by South Beds News Agency
Edited by Paul Hutchinson for the Bedford Independent