The trial of Hoole man Nicholas Crawshaw continues today (Friday, February 26) at Warrington Crown Court. The 23-year-old is accused of 16 sex offences, including 10 rapes, against seven victims between 2010 and 2015. Crawshaw denies all of the charges against him. Chronicle reporter Mike Fuller is providing updates from today's proceedings.
Thank you for following our live updates from Warrington Crown Court today. Mike Fuller will be back in court on Monday to resume our coverage.
The past half an hour has involved a lot of legal discussion from all sides and has led to the judge deciding to halt proceedings for the day. The court will resume on Monday when the prosecution and defence are expected to begin their summing up.
Break for lunch
Court has broken for lunch. The jury have been asked to come back for 2.45pm.
'I'm not telling any lies'
The prosecution said: “I just want to be direct because it’s fair, I don’t want to upset. But you have come here to try to help your son out but in the wrong way.” Mrs Crawshaw said: “I’ve come here to say the truth. I’m under oath. I’m not telling any lies.”
'Lie to protect your son' claim
Mr Mills is asking the witness about the day Crawshaw was first arrested at the family home after allegations were made by the sixth complainant. She initially told officers he was not inside the house. She later told police she ‘wasn’t happy’ she had done this. Mr Mills said: “Is it a fact you are willing to lie in order to protect your son?” Mrs Crawshaw said she would not do that under oath.
Two girls laughing
Mrs Crawshaw said the second time her son was wanted by police, he sent her a text saying he might kill himself because the policemen were ‘harassing’ him. She said when she took Crawshaw to the police station there were two girls laughing at them in another car, but she didn’t think anything of it at the time.
Her son's house
The witness said she would go round to her son’s house after he moved out. Mrs Crawshaw said she would often call up to the third floor by raising her voice and her son would hear her.
Mrs Crawshaw says she cannot remember her son going out the night before he went to Turkey in July 2012.
Mr Le Brocq is asking if Mrs Crawshaw can ever remember an occasion when her son brought two young girls back to their house in 2010. She says no. Part of the first complainant’s evidence is Crawshaw’s brother was asleep on the sofa when she and the defendant got to the house. Mrs Crawshaw says she is not sure this happened because she would not leave his younger brother alone in the house.
Mum approached by a scout
Mrs Crawshaw said her son was playing for Chester City when he was approached by a scout who said he represented a Manchester club. But their conversation was cut short by the Chester coach who said this was not a professional way to make an approach. Mrs Crawshaw told her son about what had happened.
Crawshaw's mother to give evidence
Crawshaw’s mother, Elizabeth, has been called to give evidence by Mr Le Brocq.
In bed with complainant
Mr Mills said: “In reality what was going on here was he was making it perfectly clear to you he was in bed with the complainant.” Mr Oakden agrees.
'Embarrassed but playful'
The witness said he was woken up by the call. He chatted with Crawshaw briefly before the defendant pushed the camera back so Mr Oakden could also see the complainant. Mr Oakden said he and the complainant said hi to each other and her demeanour was ‘embarrassed but playful’. The call lasted for about five minutes.
Mr Oakden says he has known Crawshaw and the sixth complainant in the case. The witness said he had a face-time conversation with her and Crawshaw the morning after the night she claims the defendant raped her.
Friend of the accused
Mr Mills calls a friend of the accused, Andrew Oakden, to give evidence.
'I would not perjure myself'
The witness is looking at the photo the prosecution says was taken on the night of the alleged incident. Mr Crawshaw says it looks ‘similar’ to the watch he bought his son in Turkey. Mr Mills said: “Have you thrown yourself into this case to try and help out your son?” He said: “I’m trying to help my son. I would not perjure myself.”
Not expected to give evidence
The defendant’s father has been sitting in court on a number of days during the trial and was not expected to give evidence until the issue surrounding the watch arose yesterday. Mr Mills is disputing the fact he has been called at a later date without the prosecution having proper opportunity to respond.
Crawshaw's father giving evidence
Mr Le Brocq has called Crawshaw’s father Gary to the witness box. The defendant’s father said his son went to visit him in Turkey for about a month in July 2012. He said he bought Crawshaw a fake gold Rolex in a bazaar in Istanbul towards the end of the trip.
Ambush the prosecution
Mr Mills said: “How is it that you only mentioned this for the first time under cross examination?” Crawshaw said he had not had time to look at the picture closely and noticed the watch when he saw the photo on the screen in the witness box. Mr Mills said: “You have lied about this and tried to ambush the prosecution.” The defendant says ‘no, not at all’.
Crawshaw had up to six watches
Crawshaw says the watches in the before photo and the picture on the night of the alleged incident are different watches. He said he owns two watches now, and had maybe ‘four-six’ at the time in question in 2012.
Crawshaw recalled as witness
The witness has finished giving evidence. Mr Le Brocq calls Crawshaw back to the witness box.
'They are the same watch'
Mr Le Brocq said: “You are just trying to make this evidence fit your case aren’t you? It’s clearly an all-gold strap in the July picture.” The witness said: “No, I’ve already said my opinion they are the same watch.”
Mark Le Brocq, defending, is now cross examining the witness. He said: “You are no expert in identifying watches are you? And this is hardly high definition photography?” DS Macfarlane answers no both times.
The prosecution shows a photo of Crawshaw after the alleged incident in Cruise. DS Macfarlane says he is wearing a different watch here.
The court is shown a picture of Crawshaw before the date of the alleged incident. DS Macfarlane says in her opinion the watch he is wearing in the photo is similar to the one he wore on the night in question.
DS Macfarlane says the issue of the watch had never been brought up to police before the defendant took to the stand. She has prepared a PowerPoint presentation of photos of Crawshaw to show the jury.
Mr Mills has recalled Detective Sergeant Lianne Macfarlane to the stand to respond to Crawshaw’s claim the watch he is wearing in the picture - which the prosecution claims shows he was in Cruise on the night of the alleged incident with the fifth complainant - was purchased after the date in question.
Jury brought in
Judge Tina Landale has taken her seat and the jury has been brought in.
The Crawshaw trial at Warrington Crown Court was due to start at 11am today but there has been a delay. The court is also expected to adjourn at lunchtime for the weekend.
Court due to resume shortly
Today we’ll be bringing you live updates from the trial of Nicholas Crawshaw.
The trial is in its third week and you can click here to read what happened in court yesterday (Thursday).
Also, an extremely important warning has been issued by the judge regarding the naming of any alleged victim.
And Cheshire Police have said anyone who identifies a complainant will be ‘arrested very quickly’.
We urge anyone reading this blog to read more about this HERE.
Chronicle reporter Mike Fuller is in court and will be bringing you updates from today’s proceedings.