Woman breaks down as she gives evidence over Darlington rape charge man

Accused: Leon Love

Accused: Leon Love

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

A WOMAN who claims she was raped after a night out by a "sexual predator" broke down in tears as she relived the alleged ordeal in court today (Thursday, January 10).

Leon Love was cleared of the attack after a trial four years ago, but the accuser has been called to give evidence in a fresh case against the 26-year-old.

He is now facing claims that he sexually assaulted another young woman after a house party and raped another following a night out in Darlington own centre.

Mr Love denies the new claims and is on trial at Teesside Crown Court - where four years ago to the week he was found not guilty of the 2008 double-rape.

His accuser was back in the witness box, and sobbed as she recalled how she woke naked in her bed to find Mr Love on top of her and kissing her lips.

She told the jury yesterday how she had downed more than two litres of alcopops, in excess of ten shots and a pint of lager and was feeling "very drunk".

She said she had returned home with a number of friends and chatted and listened to music for a while, but went to bed because she felt unwell through drink.

Weeping as she spoke, she told the court: "After falling asleep, the next memory is waking up with somebody being laid on top of me, trying to kiss me.

"He put his hands on my forehead and pinned me down. He kissed me again on the lips, open-mouthed . . . I told him to get off me. He didn't get off.

"He took his jacket off and put it on the floor. He put his hands either side of my head to kiss me again. I tried to turn my head. I felt sick."

The woman claimed she was raped in the bed, before Mr Love left saying he needed to go to the toilet, and said: "He said he wasn't finished with me yet."

She said she was frozen with fear when Mr Love returned and again tried to fight him off, but was unable to because he was too strong and she was still drunk.

"I felt scared, sick, shaking, angry," she told the jury. "I could not physically move. I was still feeling the effects of the alcohol. I was numb.

"He laid beside me and asked me why I was crying. I told him it was because I wanted him to leave for what he had done to me. He said he doesn't like it when somebody is upset, he doesn't like to see them cry."

Christine Egerton, defending, accused the woman of changing her account, and she sobbed as she said: "It's easy to get confused when you block it out your mind."

Mr Love, of Hartington Way, Darlington, admits having sex with his accuser, but claims it was consensual, Miss Egerton told the jury.

The woman left the court in tears and asked for a break when Miss Egerton put it to her: "At the time he was having sex with you,you were agreeable."

She replied "no, not a chance" and held her head in her hands before rushing from the court room.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett earlier described Mr Love as an "arrogant sexual predator" who preyed on young women affected by alcohol or drugs.

The trial continues.

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