Man accused of rape at Northampton bedsit asked woman if 'she felt violated' as he walked her to taxi

The man claims he was concerned "something happened" between her and another man in the flat when he "wasn't present"

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 7:24 am
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 2:14 pm
A trial has begun over the alleged rape of a woman in a Northampton bedsit.

A man accused of being one of four men who raped a woman at a Northampton bedsit claims he was concerned other people had assaulted her that night - but maintains everything he did was consensual.

A trial is underway over the alleged sexual assault of a woman at the hands of four men at a Billing Brook bedsit in August 2019.

At Northampton Crown Court yesterday (May 25), one of the two men currently on trial - John Cunningham, of no fixed abode - told the jury he only had consensual sex with the woman.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 28-year-old said he knew that other men at the flat had sex with her on the same night.

However, a recording made by the woman in the last hour of the incident includes a conversation between Cunningham and the woman, where he asked her if "she felt violated" and if she had "ever been in that situation before."

"What did you mean by that?" asked prosecutor Mr Andrew Howarth in cross examination. "Why would you ask that? How many girls do you have one-night stands with who you ask if they feel violated?"

"I asked if she felt violated because I thought, maybe when I wasn't present, if something happened, because I wouldn't stand for that," replied Cunningham.

"The way she was after she left was a big change of tune to to the way she was the night before."

When asked, Cunningham confirmed he had not left the flat at any time other than to smoke outside.

The recording, which was played to the jury in full and lasted over an hour, included the sound of the woman reportedly having sex with the other defendant accused of rape - Dennis McGowan, 37, of Mounts Court.

After this, the woman asked to go to bathroom where she sat by herself for around 15 minutes, occasionally sobbing.

It is Cunningham's case that the woman was "flirty" with him and that they had consensual sex in the bedsit's bathroom.

But the prosecutor asked: "So all those other men at the flat would be able to tell police how this woman flirting with you and going to the bathroom for sex. They could help your defence. So what are their names?"

"I don't want to involve anyone else in this," said Cunningham.

"This was a one night stand as far as I know.

"There was no rape. There was no conspiracy to rape."

In the woman's three police interviews, the alleged victim did not name Cunningham but referred to him as "the big white bloke" consistently. She claimed he "did the most".

Cunningham will resume giving his evidence on Wednesday (May 26).

Editor's note: A previous version incorrectly gave the name of the prosecutor, Andrew Howarth, as the name of one of the defence barristers, Steven Talbot-Hadley. This has been corrected.