Man accused of rape in Shropshire thought sexual contact was consensual, court hears

A former student accused of raping a woman in a Shropshire town believed their sexual contact was consensual, a court heard.

William Saunders, now 24, is charged at Shrewsbury Crown Court with one charge of rape and one of attempted rape, both against the same woman.

It is alleged to have happened in 2018 when Saunders was a student at Harper Adams University near Newport.

The court heard that Saunders and the woman had both been out in Newport on the night and had met while waiting for food after the town's club had closed.

Being cross-examined on Wednesday, Saunders said he and the woman had begun flirting and agreed to go back to her accommodation in the town to have sex.

Saunders' solicitor Miss Debra White referred to video footage taken from phones showing the two walking side-by-side through Newport.

The defendant said they had returned to her home in Newport and she had taken him upstairs and into her bedroom before undressing and giving him a condom.

Saunders told the court the woman gave no indication she was not consenting until she screamed for her housemate and said "he's hurting me", at which point he said he immediately separated himself.

Prosecutor Mr Antonie Muller said the woman claimed Saunders had not gone along with her wishes after she told him to "wait a minute", which he said were "lies".

The housemate gave evidence to the trial, describing entering the bedroom and telling Saunders to leave.

The woman reported the incident the next day and Saunders was interviewed by police, when he said the encounter had been consensual.

Saunders, of Derrydown Road in Birmingham, denies a single count of rape and one of attempted rape, and the trial continues.

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