Durham student 'called rape-accused university society ex-secretary a sexy menace'

Louis Richardsondenies one charge of rape and three sexual assaults.
Louis Richardsondenies one charge of rape and three sexual assaults.

A student who has accused the former secretary of Durham University's prestigious Union Society of rape called him a "sexy menace" in a series of flirtatious Facebook messages in the weeks after, a court has heard.

Louis Richardson, 21, from Jersey, began giving evidence from the witness box at Durham Crown Court where he denies raping and sexually assaulting one woman and sexually assaulting another in 2014.

The jury has been told he raped the first complainant at his shared student house after they spotted each other at a nightclub where she was "crazy drunk".

The next morning he is said to have told the woman she was rubbish in bed because she was "unresponsive".

He is also charged with sexually assaulting her at a party, where he exposed her bra and said "Get your tits out - everyone else has seen them."

Richardson, a history student who has been suspended by the university without completing his degree, was also accused of sexually assaulting another woman at a different party as she lay in bed, ill.

In a clear, deep voice, he categorically denied rape.

Miss Philippa McAtasney QC, defending, asked: "The allegation is she was completely drunk and unresponsive."

"That was not the case," he replied.

He did recall that in the "throes of passion" she called out another man's name.

"I looked at her as if to say 'What was that?' and she quickly apologised and we carried on," he told the court.

He said they parted on good terms the next morning, then he caught a flight home to Jersey.

Richardson said they kept in touch in the following weeks, exchanging flirtatious Facebook messages.

These included her sending him images of her breasts in a bra, the court heard.

She described him being unable to smile because of his high cheek bones, and he described himself as a "subtle menace" in one comment.

"A sexy menace," she replied.

Miss McAtasney asked him: "Did you think anything was wrong at all?"

Richardson replied: "That's not the sort of exchange I would expect of someone that was annoyed at me, or anything."

On the night he is charged with sexually assaulting her, they had walked arm-in-arm to the party, despite her telling Richardson she no longer wanted to see him, the court heard.

He thought they kissed on the way, and then again at the venue, on a sofa. when her top came down, exposing her bra, the jury heard.

He denied telling her to "get your tits out", but said they left together after a friend saw them and told them "Get a room."

They walked to his shared house but did not have sex.

Richardson said: "She said no - I respected that."

He then took her home.

The next day she messaged him to say he must have looked like a "high class, educated, voluntary tramp" with a book in the pocket of his velvet coat.

Richardson told the jury: "It's the same jokey banter that has been going on for weeks before."

Then he received a message accusing him of rape and saying he was not to contact her again. Richardson was surprised by the "abrupt" change in tone and told the court he believed that was actually written by her boyfriend.

Asked if he was concerned, Richardson said: "No, I was not really. I know I had not raped her. I knew that she knew I had not raped her."

Asked how he felt when he was arrested for rape, he replied: "I was shocked, I was devastated."

At the party when he is alleged to have sexually assaulted the second complainant, Richardson said he was in a room discussing "political topics" with a group, when he said he comforted the woman by touching her shoulder.

He told the court she then took his hand and put it on her breast as she lay on the bed. It lasted for "moments".

Her boyfriend later contacted him online and said he had been "out of order".

Richardson explained he made a "qualified apology" to the boyfriend so he could make an arrangement to see his accuser and get to the bottom of her allegation.

"I was not sorry, I had done nothing wrong, I wanted to meet with (the woman) and I wanted to put the record straight," he told the jury.

He said gossip about his arrest for rape spread and was picked up by two student newspapers "despite the fact it had not been established whether or not I was guilty".

The defendant, of Midvale Road, St Helier, denies one charge of rape and three sexual assaults.