The trial of Hoole man Nicholas Crawshaw continues today (Monday, February 29) 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 coverage of the prosecution and defence summaries in the trial today. We will resume our live coverage tomorrow when the judge will begin her summing up.
Judge adjourns case
Judge Tina Landale has adjourned the case until tomorrow when she will sum up the case for the jury.
The defence states how the accused does not have to give evidence. Mr Le Brocq says Crawshaw has ‘not flinched’ from doing this. He reiterates that the only conclusion you could draw from looking at the evidence ‘critically and objectively’ is not guilty.
'Perfect opportunity to escape'
Mr Le Brocq raises the question of why the seventh did not leave Crawshaw’s house when he went to give her friend directions. He said: “She had the perfect opportunity to escape or to seek help. At the very least she could go downstairs and wait for her friend to arrive so she had safety in numbers. As a matter of fact she stayed naked in his bed until he got back and the prosecution cannot escape this. She was simply waiting for him.”
'Not a consistent story'
He adds: “There’s not a consistent story with her in any event.”
Mr Le Brocq accuses the sixth complainant of ‘staged histrionics’ when she refused to look at the selfies of her and Crawshaw during her time in the witness box.
'Morning after regrets'
The defence says everything that happened between Crawshaw and the final two complainants was ‘with their consent and participation’. He said: “They are classic examples of morning after regrets of drunken sexual activity.”
Watch photo is not conclusive
Mr Le Brocq says the photographic evidence of Crawshaw in Cruise is not conclusive. He questions the police for telling the jury the watch Crawshaw is wearing in the picture is the same as one he was shown wearing a month earlier. Mr Le Brocq says it is the watch the 23-year-old was bought by his father in Turkey, which demonstrates the date of the photo in July is wrong and it also shows ‘the lengths the police will go to get their convictions in this case’.
Speaking about the fifth complainant, the defence says it is ‘inconceivable’ that a rape victim would respond with ‘banter, flirting and kisses at the end of her texts’ to messages from her rapist.
Trying to help friend
Mr Le Brocq suggests it’s possible the fourth complainant is trying to help out the third alleged victim, who is a friend and was also the person who mentioned her name to police.
Vague video interview
Speaking about the third complainant, the defence says: “You may remember just how vague she was in her video interview, not the least of them being how she came to be lying on her back in Grosvenor Park having sex.”
Mr Le Brocq raises a question about inconsistencies in the second complainant’s evidence in the way she reported it to the school and to police.
'Is it likely?'
Regarding the second allegation made by the first complainant that Crawshaw sexually assaulted her on school grounds. Mr Le Brocq said: “Is it likely that he would carry out a sexual assault on school premises in school hours when he was not even supposed to be there?”
'Simply not true'
Mr Le Brocq says a possible reason why the complainants from 2010 did not come forward is because the allegations are ‘simply not true’.
Evidence not sufficiently reliable
Mark Le Brocq, defending, is now addressing the jury. The defence says when you analyse the evidence regarding each complainant ‘completely and objectively’ you find that each allegation is made out of evidence which is not sufficiently reliable on which to convict.
Mr Mills has concluded his closing speech. The court is taking a short break.
'Devious and manipulative'
Mr Mills said Crawshaw was creating evidence for himself with the selfies and iPad recording in the cases of the sixth and seventh complainants. The prosecution said: “We say he is a devious and manipulative man. 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. That is the Nicholas Crawshaw you are considering in this case and we invite you respectfully to find him guilty.”
The prosecution say the picture they claim shows Crawshaw in Cruise on the night of the alleged incident was a ‘devastating’ piece of evidence. He adds the jury may find the defendant’s response to the production of the photo ‘illuminating’.
Regarding the prospect of mistaken identity in the case of the fifth complainant, Mr Mills says this is ‘basically non existent’.
'Why on earth would they make it up?'
Mr Mills is running through the accounts of each complainant. For each he asks, ‘why on earth would she make it up?’
Police have not been unfair
The prosecution says despite Crawshaw’s claims this has not been in any way shape or form an unfair police investigation.
Mr Mills says the word ‘forceful’ crops up ‘time and time again’ in the alleged victim’s accounts.
Elephant in the room
The prosecution says: “Now we get to the elephant in the room for Mr Crawshaw. 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.”
Mr Mills says the women in this case all say they were not consenting and the defendant went and did it anyway.
The girls themselves
“A word about the girls themselves. These are real women who you see through the prism of this case. You see them giving their account through video interviews and you see them being cross examined. The prosecution says you’ve seen seven perfectly normal women with their own frailties.”
Only one question
The jury is told the only question they are considering at this stage is ‘if you are sure this happened or not’.
Sad truth of rape
The prosecution said: “It’s almost inevitable that if the woman takes the brave step of coming forward and reporting it to friends, family or the authorities that the man is either going to say she consented or if they think they can get away with it say that never happened. It’s a sad truth of rape that it’s so easy to deny even if it’s true.”
No rapist stereotype
Mr Mills says there’s no stereotype of a rapist. He said: “Some men don’t want consent, some men think they’re entitled to consent even when they don’t get it.”
Prosecution begins summing up
Prosecutor Simon Mills addresses the jury. He said: “Capacity. A person consents if they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.”
What's due to happen today
The trial of Nicholas Crawshaw is expected to resume shortly. All evidence has been introduced and counsel will make their closing speeches this morning. Simon Mills, prosecuting, will begin followed by the defence barrister Mark Le Brocq.