Double rape accused - trial begins

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man is accused of attempting to rape a woman in Blackpool – after being released on bail following an earlier allegation of raping a different woman in the resort.

Paul Mansfield, 27, denies offering to take the women to hotels after they became separated from friends while out drinking in Blackpool on June 16 last year.

Opening the trial, Timothy Evans, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court the first woman had told a police officer she would take Mansfield, of no fixed address, after they were called to a disturbance outside the Kaos club.

The woman thought Mansfield was staying at a hotel in Blackpool and after becoming separated from her friends thought she could find a place to sleep.

But after leaving the club, Mansfield is alleged to have taken her to a house he claimed was his auntie’s home and climbed up a drainpipe to gain access through an upstairs window.

Inside, the first floor flat was unfurnished – although there was a bed with a mattress but no bedding on it.

Mr Evans told the court the woman tried to resist when Mansfield started making sexual advances to her and he hit her across the face with the back of his hand.

She continued to tell him she did not want to have sex with him but he ignored her pleas and raped her, the court was told.

Following the attack the woman fled the flat and went to the nearest police station where she saw the police officer she had seen earlier outside the club.

The officer noticed she had a mark to her face which had not been there before.

Following his arrest Mansfield claimed to know the woman and said she had consented but Mr Evans told the jury: “When sex involves violence it is plain it is not consensual.”

Three months later, while on police bail, Mansfield is alleged to have attacked a second woman who was holidaying in the resort with her boyfriend.

The couple had been drinking and after arguing the woman’s boyfriend had left her to return to their hotel alone.

The woman was very drunk and remembers talking to a group of men in a pizza shop before getting in a taxi and being told they would take her to a hotel where she could spend the night.

But when she got out of the taxi Mr Evans said she recalls one of the men grabbing her by the throat and pushing her up against a wall, trying to pull her clothes off while removing his own trousers.

The prosecutor said: “She was begging him to leave her alone, saying she had a boyfriend and even making up a lie about being pregnant in the hope that would prevent him from continuing the attack.”

The woman struggled and broke free and was helped by another woman who lived nearby, who had heard her crying and brought her into her home to call the police.

Inside the house the terrified woman realised she did not have her handbag and the neighbour went to see if she could find it.

She returned from the scene with a small black bag, which the woman did not recognise.

However when police arrived the neighbour gave them the bag, telling them she had discovered it in the area the woman said she had been attacked. It was found to contain a mobile phone belonging to Mansfield – who claimed he had lent it to a friend.

The following day it emerged the woman’s bank card had been used at a cash machine, just two minutes after the police logged the call from the neighbour.

CCTV was recovered and showed Mansfield at the cash machine, the court heard.

Mansfield was arrested and denied having had any physical contact with the woman but his DNA was recovered from a bite mark on her chest, the court heard.

Mansfield denies one count of rape and one count of attempted rape.

Mr Evans said: “The crown says that both these sexual encounters, three months apart, with two women who were drunk at the time they came into contact with the defendant were non consensual.

“He was the perpetrator of two sex attacks – one the full offence of rape and one of attempted rape.”