Darlington man branded "arrogant sexual predator" denies rape

Trial: Leon Love

Trial: Leon Love

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

AN alleged rapist was branded "an arrogant sexual predator" as he went on trial today (Monday, January 7) accused of attacking two young women.

Leon Love, from Darlington, believed he could do what he wanted and get away with it, a jury at Teesside Crown Court was told.

It is claimed the 26-year-old twice forced himself on women as they slept following nights out and parties in 2009 and 2011.

Prosecutor, Richard Bennett, said Mr Love was cleared of similar allegations from 2008 - when he was known as Leon Daley.

A young woman claimed she was twice raped after waking up to find him touching her following a party involving drink and cocaine.

Mr Bennett said Mr Love was not on trial for the earlier allegation, but it was evidence to support his propensity to commit such crimes.

The jury heard all three women - said to be unconnected - will testify during the trial which is expected to run into next week.

Mr Bennett said: "You must ask yourself is it a coincidence three girls make three separate complaints, and is Mr Love very unlucky and keeps getting wrongly accused?

"Or is it the case, as the prosecution says, where his sexual urges simply drove him to get sexual gratification regardless of any other person's wishes?

"Three girls, all at the time unconnected, all at the time drunk, all at the time in bed asleep, and on three occasions, the prosecution says, where an opportunity was presented to the defendant to obtain sexual gratification he took it."

Mr Bennett added: "Having to sit in a dock for a jury's verdict four years ago would be an experience any normal man would not want to face again.

"But the Crown's case is that Leon Love is not a normal man. The Crown's case is that this defendant is a sexual predator, a sexual predator who picks on women who are under the influence of drink or drugs.

"He is a good-looking young man, and with that comes a degree of arrogance, and if there is an opportunity to take advantage of a young woman he takes it. Whether she consents or not is not something that particularly concerns him."

The court heard how his alleged victim from 2009 did not make a report to the police because she thought she would not be believed and he "would get away with it again", said Mr Bennett.

It was not until she saw Mr Love chatting up a young woman in a Darlington bar in 2011 and attacked him that details of her alleged ordeal emerged.

Months later, someone who had a witnessed the altercation became aware of Mr Love's arrest for rape and contacted the other complainant through Facebook.

It is alleged that Mr Love raped a woman while she slept with her boyfriend after a house party.

When she woke her partner to tell him what had happened, he attacked Mr Love, who fled bleeding from the property without his jeans and shoes in his boxer shorts.

Mr Love, of Hartington Way, Darlington, denies charges of rape and assault by penetration.

He told police after his arrest that the second accuser had initiated sexual contact with him, despite her boyfriend sleeping next to her, and the first had made it up.

The trial continues.

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