An alleged victim said she was sexually assaulted twice by a Chester man while she was still at school, a court heard.

The woman was the first witness to speak in the trial of 23-year-old Nicholas Crawshaw, of West Street, Hoole which got under way today (Wednesday, February 11) at Warrington Crown Court following a jury selection process yesterday.

Crawshaw is accused of 16 sex offences, including 10 rapes, against seven alleged victims between 2010 and 2015.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified and was under age at the time of the alleged offence, said Crawshaw had sexually assaulted her twice between January and June 2010.

She added her friend, who is also a complainant in the case, told her about being raped by Crawshaw.

The 23-year-old, who went to the same school in Chester, denied the incidents ever took place.

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Mark Le Brocq, defending, said: “You made these allegations up didn’t you?

“Nicholas Crawshaw had a bit of a cool reputation, was a bit of a flirt and you and your friend made this up as schoolgirl gossip.”

First incident

The first incident is alleged to have taken place in the spring time and the second at a Chester school a few months later.

The girl said she was sitting on a park bench near her school with a friend - not a complainant in the case - and was crying because she had just broken up with her boyfriend.

Crawshaw saw she was upset and invited her back to his house to get out of the rain, the court heard.

After walking inside the house, she said Crawshaw’s younger brother was sleeping on the sofa.

It was alleged Crawshaw told the girl’s friend to wait downstairs while he comforted her in his room.

Shoe collection

The complainant said he invited her up to see his shoe collection, but after talking for a short time he became forceful.

She said: “He started kissing me and was really forceful when I wasn’t kissing him back.

“I persisted in telling him to get off me, I was panicking and making excuses that I had to leave.

“He put me on the bed and started touching me over and under my knickers. He stood up and took his trousers and boxers off and then lay back on top of me.”

The witness said saying she would shout for her friend eventually made Crawshaw stop.

'Clearly annoyed'

But he was ‘clearly annoyed’ as he opened the door to let her leave, the trial heard.

As she got downstairs she said to her friend ‘I want to go’, before she started crying on the walk home and told her everything.

The second incident took place at school as the alleged victim walked past Crawshaw alone.

She said she could not remember the conversation, but after sitting down next to the defendant he quickly started touching her and tried to kiss her.

The witness said: “I thought is he kidding? We are in school. I just couldn’t believe he thought he could do it again after I was so adamant the first time.

”I said ‘What are you doing?’ and got up and left.”

Witness 'felt scared'

Mr Le Brocq asked why she sat down next to him the second time after what had happened before. The alleged victim replied it was because she was on her own and felt scared.

She said she had only ever told two people about the incidents before being contacted by police in July 2015 because she felt ‘embarrassed’.

Memories of what had happened also came back after her friend said she had been raped by Crawshaw, the court heard.

Crawshaw denies all the charges against him.

Judge Tina Landale is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last about three weeks.

The trial at Warrington Crown Court continues.

A report from Thursday's hearing can be read here.