Man accused of rape in Shropshire claims complainant did not withdraw consent before screaming for help, court hears

A former student accused of raping a woman after a night out in a Shropshire town claims the complainant did not withdraw her consent before screaming for help.

William Saunders appeared on trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday charged with rape and attempted rape, both against the same woman.

The 24-year-old is accused of carrying out the act in 2018 while studying at Harper Adams University near Newport.

The court heard that Saunders and the woman returned to her home in the early hours of the morning and agreed to have sex.

But the woman claims once the act started, she told Saunders to stop as he was hurting her, before shouting for help from a housemate when he did not.

Evidence read to the jury heard Saunders' claims the woman "didn't react to me hurting her, physically, verbally, or in anyway".

But Antonie Muller, prosecuting, dismissed this claim and said it "simply didn't make sense".

Mr Muller said the complainant put her hand on Saunders' shoulder in an attempt to push him away and referred to interview footage of her acting out the movement.

Miss Debra White, defending Saunders, said he "genuinely believed the complainant was consenting and that belief was reasonable".

She said that "had she tapped him on the shoulder, had she said slow down, or stop, he would have.

"She may have been thinking it, but she did not articulate it. The first thing he heard was her shouting, screaming for her housemate."

Miss White added: "The fact he's had no previous convictions, warnings, reprimands or anything, the law says you should take that into account when you're considering the likelihood of whether or not he committed this offence and the likelihood of whether or not he's telling the truth."

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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