Councillor calls for calm as a house in Elswick is
- Evening Chronicle
- Dec 26 2012
A COUNCILLOR is calling for calm after the home of a man charged with raping a schoolgirl came under attack.
Windows were smashed at the house of 19-year-old Abdul Zalal Miah in broad daylight on Christmas Eve.
The incident at Hull Street, Elswick, came just hours after police officially released Miah’s name and as he made his first appearance at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.
The 19-year-old is charged with three counts of rape, possessing an offensive weapon, threats to kill and robbery after a 15-year-old schoolgirl was attacked on Tuesday, December 18.
Two teenagers aged 17 and 18 have been arrested by Northumbria Police on suspicion of aggravated burglary.
Race and human rights campaigner Dipu Ahad, who also represents the Elswick ward for Newcastle City Council, now fears targeted attacks at the Miah family home on a predominantly Bengali street could escalate over the holiday period.
“There has been a lot of police activity around the house. We are worried that this is stirring up racial tension,” he said.
“Calm now needs to be in the community. We need to support this woman first and foremost, and people shouldn’t use this to create more tension. We are now appealing to everyone for calm.”
Miah was arrested on Sunday following a six-day manhunt by Northumbria Police.
He appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court on December 24, where he was formally charged with three counts of rape, kidnap, possessing an offensive weapon, threats to kill and robbery.
He was remanded in custody by magistrate Trevor Walton until January 4 when he will appear at Newcastle Crown Court.
Miah, who spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, was dressed in a dark blue sweat shirt and trousers. Two female members of his family sat in the public gallery.
His alleged victim reported she had been threatened with a knife and raped as she walked along Elswick Road eight days ago.
The attacker is alleged to have taken her to a secluded area between Park Close and Gloucester Terrace.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police, said: “Police received a report of a window being broken at an address on Hull Street, Newcastle. Officers attended and two men aged 17 and 18 were arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary.”