Counsel in the Nicholas Crawshaw rape trial have been making their final attempts to convince the jury in their closing speeches.
The prosecution urged them to convict the 23-year-old. But Mark Le Brocq, defending, said the only conclusion you could draw from looking at the evidence ‘critically and objectively’ was not guilty.
Crawshaw, of West Street, Hoole, is accused of 16 sex offences, including 10 rapes, against seven victims between 2010 and 2015. He denies all of the charges against him.
Both barristers were invited to give their closing statements at Warrington Crown Court on Monday (February 29).
Mr Mills said Crawshaw was a ‘devious and manipulative’ man.
He said: “He is the man who said in an interview with police he injured his knee playing for Manchester United. He is the man who said he wasn’t in Cruise when there’s a photo that says he was.
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“That is the Nicholas Crawshaw you are considering in this case and we invite you respectfully to find him guilty.”
Mr Le Brocq reminded the jury it was up to the prosecution to prove Crawshaw was guilty of the offences beyond reasonable doubt.
He said: “When you analyse it all completely and objectively you will find that not one of the allegations is made on evidence sufficiently reliable with which to convict.
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“Defendants don’t have to give evidence. If they do, they know they are going to have to endure cross examination. Mr Crawshaw hasn’t flinched from that.”
The defence raised questions about the evidence of each of the complainants in the case.
He said the alleged victims of incidents in 2010 had not come forward until now because the allegations were not true and cited inconsistencies in their evidence.
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Mr Le Brocq added it was ‘inconceivable’ the fifth complainant would respond with ‘banter, flirting and kisses at the end of her texts’ to messages from her rapist after the alleged incident.
He said the sixth and seventh complainants, where Crawshaw has admitted the incidents happened but said everything was consensual, were ‘classic examples of morning after regrets of drunken sexual activity’.
The prosecution addressed what it described as the ‘elephant in the room’ for Crawshaw.
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Mr Mills said: “This is not just one woman, this is not two women, this is not three women or even four. This is seven women plus others who’ve given evidence either directly supportive of them or who’ve shown complainants disclosing information in differing ways which in the circumstances makes the simple suggestion that they made this up look distinctly odd.”
All that remains before the jury are sent out to make their decision is for Judge Tina Landale to sum up the case.
The trial at Warrington Crown Court continues.