Barrister accuses woman at heart of Northampton bedsit rape trial of lying in police interviews

A woman has denied that she "flirted" with one of her alleged attackers or that she knew any of the five men at the flat that night

By Alastair Ulke
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 8:58 am

A barrister has asked the woman in a Northampton rape trial if she is 'telling the truth'.

A trial has begun two men accused of sexual assault of a woman in a Northampton bed sit at the hands of four men in 2019.

Two of the alleged attackers - John Cunningham, 28, of no fixed abode, and Dennis McGowan, of Mounts Court, Billing Brook - are standing trial after pleading not guilty to rape and claiming the woman had sex with them consensually.

A woman has denied claims that she had consensual sex with any of the five men she says raped her at a Northampton flat.

Two men stand trial accused of raping woman at Northampton bedsitYesterday, after the jury heard three video interviews the woman gave to police, a defence barrister asked the woman in evidence if her claims were false.

"I'm going to put to you that you had sexual intercourse with [Cunningham]," said Mr Steven Talbot-Hadley. "and it was consensual."

"I do not agree with that," said the woman, who took the stand to give evidence.

The woman claims that she met with a friend on the Racecourse on the evening of August 2, 2019, to smoke cannabis and have a drink.

She then reportedly walked 45 minutes to a BP garage in St James Road for food, where a man she didn't know coaxed her into taking a taxi with him to "a party" at the flat where the offence happened.

"However," said Mr Talbot-Hadley. "Cell site evidence that was put to you by police shows that you and your friend were together driving round and round Northampton for hours. Why is that?"

"I don't know," said the woman.

"I'm going to suggest [your friend] is the one who drove you to that party," said the barrister.

"No," said the woman.

The woman claims that she was raped by four males at the flat, including Cunningham and McGowan, before she left the next day in a taxi. She attended Northampton's A&E immediately and reported it to the police the same day.

"There was no one holding you captive," said the barrister. "You arrived and you say you didn't know anyone there. Why did you stay?"

"I shouldn't have," said the woman.

The evidence will also reportedly include a hour-long recording of the incident that the woman was able to make.

"In that recording [which has not yet been played to the jury], you are heard saying to someone 'I swear you had longer hair last time'. How can that be if you didn't know anyone there?" said the barrsiter.

"I don't remember," said the woman.

"I'm going to suggest that you were flirty with Mr Cunningham, that you said he had a nice body, and that led to bit of kidding and cuddling?" said the barrister.

"No," said the woman.

McGowan and Cunningham have pleaded not guilty to all charges, and claim the woman had sex with them consensually.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Howarth told the jury: "Both of these defendants have shown a striking and significantly marked reluctance to name any of the other people at the flat, which you may think surprising if they say they had sex with this woman consensually."

The trial continues.