A Chester man who was jailed for raping a young mum, who then killed herself within days, has failed in a Court of Appeal bid to clear his name.
Masood Mansouri, 34, said he did not get a fair trial - because his 20-year-old victim was no longer alive to be quizzed in the witness box.
But while top judges today (Friday, December 18) dismissed his conviction appeal, they slashed his sentence from 13 to nine years.
The court heard Mansouri, of Shannon Close, Saltney, was jailed after he was convicted at the city’s crown court in April of rape and kidnap.
Ceri Linden was attacked after mistakenly getting into his car in Broughton, thinking it was a taxi during a night out in August 2014.
She went to police afterwards and was interviewed on camera, but was dead within days , having taken an overdose.
The Iranian was convicted after Miss Linden’s evidence was shown posthumously to the jury on a screen in the court.
At the Court of Appeal today, his lawyers argued that put him in an impossible situation.
It meant he could not challenge the so-called ‘hearsay’ evidence - an account on which she could not be cross-examined.
“There are real dangers in a jury relying on hearsay evidence,” said his barrister, Andrew Thomas QC.
“It should be regarded very much as second best. It is much more difficult to test and assess.”
The evidence the jury saw was the account Miss Linden, from Mochdre, in North Wales, gave three days after the incident, he said.
That was different to the account she had earlier given and might have changed again if she had gone into the witness box, he continued.
“We know that, when searching questions are asked and details are explored, an account which otherwise appears to be credible can begin to unravel,” he said.
Miss Linden had been drinking, but was not significantly drunk, and there was nothing on Mansouri’s car to suggest it was a minicab, he continued.
Giving judgment, Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mrs Justice Cox and Sir John Royce, said Mansouri’s convictions were ‘safe’.
But after considering the length of the sentence, she said it was too long and cut it to nine years.