Blackpool FC footballer Bez Lubala appearing in court accused of raping teenager

Blackpool FC footballer Beryly Lubala is appearing in court accused of raping a teenager.

By Matt Scrafton
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 1:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 1:20 pm
Lubala hasn't played for Blackpool since February of last year
Lubala hasn't played for Blackpool since February of last year

Lubala, 24, grabbed the 18-year-old by the hair, telling her to stop making noise and be a good girl before raping her, a jury in Brighton was told.

The forward denies the claims, which relate to an incident at his home on September 13, 2019.

At the time he played for League Two side Crawley Town, not joining the Seasiders until a year later.

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"We're aware that Beryly Lubala is standing trial in court this week for an alleged offence during his time at Crawley Town,” the club said in a statement.

"Until the legal process has concluded and an outcome has been reached, the club is unable to comment further.”

Lubala is accused of assaulting the teenager after inviting her to Netflix and chill, the court heard.

The woman, now aged 20, told police she made it clear she did not want sex with the player in several text messages before driving to his home in Horsham.

She sobbed and told the court; "I said no and he carried on. He turned into a different person. There was no kind of listening to what I did and didn't want."

"It was just like a stranger," the woman told Sussex Police.

Lubala was attracting attention from Championship and Premier League scouts after joining Crawley Town from Birmingham City when the woman said she was attacked in September 2019.

The jury heard the striker, who joined Blackpool a year later, had sex with the teenager on two occasions before she visited him at his home.

The court heard the young woman slept with the player twice before - once in a hotel on the day he arrived in Crawley and again in a house he was sharing with other young players.

She then blocked him from her social media after starting a new relationship.

After the relationship ended, the player contacted her again by text message.

The jury heard the player told her he only wanted to watch Netflix and chill before she agreed to visit him a third time.

Emotional voice messages recorded as the woman left to drive herself home were played to the jury.

Richard Hearnden for the Crown told the court they could hear the woman say she felt violated in the raw, unfiltered account.

The teenager could be heard crying as she recorded the messages.

"I drove up to my friend's house," she said. "We've been friends for ages. We have slept together in the past.

"We were just chilling and it just happened and I didn't want him to. I told him I didn't want him to.

"I'm just driving home in the dark, I can't stop crying."

Mr Hearnden told the court: "She wasn't raped by a stranger or outdoors or in the street or in an alleyway.

"She was raped by a man she knew, in his house.

"She wasn't in a relationship with the man but they had been intimate before."

The forward hasn’t made an appearance for Blackpool since February 2021.

Speaking to The Gazette in April, head coach Neil Critchley revealed Lubala was unavailable for selection due to a “club matter”.

“Bez isn’t available at the moment,” Critchley said at the time.

“It’s a club matter and I can’t elaborate on that I’m afraid, that’s it.”

Lubala agreed a three-year deal with the club in September 2020 after signing from Crawley for an undisclosed fee.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court in Brighton continues.

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