Two men stand trial accused of raping woman at Northampton bedsit

Court hears the woman says she was plied with drinks and assaulted by four men at a Northampton flat

Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:17 pm

A trial involving two men accused of raping a woman at a bedsit in Northampton has begun.

A jury at Northampton Crown Court today (May 24) heard the video evidence of a woman who says she was plied with drinks and raped by four different men in an incident 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.

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A trial has begun over the alleged rape of a woman in a Northampton bedsit.

In his opening speech, Prosecutor Mr Andrew Howarth told the jury: "This young woman told police this incident involved up to five men.

"She did not know the location of where this happened, only that it was in a bedsit in Northampton.

"She told police that she repeatedly said no, but 'the big white bloke' [allegedly Cunningham] laughed at her."

The court heard the woman was out with friends in 2019 to smoke cannabis and have a drink.

It is alleged that the woman was in her pyjamas on the evening of August 2, 2019, when she joined a friend on the Racecourse to smoke cannabis and have a drink.

She then went to a petrol station in Northampton to get something to eat. There, a man then reportedly asked her for directions.

The prosecutor said: "The man pleaded with her to come with him and there was a party. She says she does not know how it happened, but she ended up in a taxi with the man to a flat."

The woman claims that at the flat were 'a big white bloke' - allegedly Cunningham - a man who said he 'owned the place' - allegedly McGowan - and three other males.

It was there that Cunningham, McGowan, and two of the other males are accused of raping her.

In the first of three video interviews played to the jury, the woman said: "The big white bloke did the most.

"The other blokes were stood about and said 'I want to go next'.

"I asked them to stop and I said I wanted to leave but they didn't let me.

"The big white bloke let me outside for a smoke break and said 'sorry, I didn't mean for that to happen, I didn't mean any of this'. He was talking to me like we were best mates.

"The property owner [allegedly McGowan] was trying it on with me but the big white bloke told him no, like I was his property."

The woman says that when she was allowed to go in the early hours of August 3, she immediately went to Northampton General Hospital and contacted the police that morning.

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

The prosecutor 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.

The identities of the other alleged rapists in the woman's account are unknown.