‘All I did was try to help’, a homeless man accused of raping a woman who had become lost in Chester city centre told a court.

Thirty-nine-year-old Nick Chambers rejected claims that his alleged victim – who has paranoid schizophrenia – was ‘easy prey’ as he took to the stand today (Thursday, April 14) on the fourth day of his trial at Chester Crown Court.

The complainant claims he dragged her into one of the Kaleyards public toilets on the night of May 29, 2015, and forced her to have sex against her will.

But Chambers insists no sexual contact took place between them and he was simply trying to ensure she reached a place of safety, after she told him she did not have any money to get home.

The court heard he had been sleeping rough behind Chronicle House in Commonhall Street for around four months when he allegedly attacked the woman.

He recalled that he first saw her sitting on a bench near the Eastgate Clock looking ‘emotional’, as though she might burst into tears.

She looked ‘very vulnerable’, Chambers said, so he asked her if she was okay.

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She told him she did not have enough money to get home, so he decided to take her to Chester Town Hall Police Station.

“I just thought that they would deal with the situation by getting her a bus ticket or a lift,” said Chambers, adding that it never occurred to him she may have had mental health issues.

He denied that he found the complainant attractive, saying he ‘never looked at her that way’.

When they reached the police station, PC Paul Povey advised Chambers to take the woman to Richmond Court in Boughton as Chambers said she revealed to them that she was homeless.

So they set off towards Boughton, passing the toilets at the Kaleyards but they did not stop, he said.

When asked by defence counsel Gareth Roberts if he raped the complainant, Chambers answered ‘no, definitely not’.

He said: “I was just going to drop her off there, tell the staff what the situation was and be on my way.”

Chambers went on to explain that they stopped outside the Old Harker’s Arms as they walked along the canal towards Richmond Court because the complainant, who he described as ‘vacant’ and uncommunicative, did not want to go any further.

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Aaron Fielding, a doorman at the Old Harker’s Arms, told them to move on as they were sitting in an area reserved for customers, which the pair did but the complainant then returned to stand next to Mr Fielding.

Chambers said Mr Fielding ‘waded in’ without giving him a chance to explain what the situation was and said to him ‘if she does not want to go, she does not want to go so stop acting like a rapist’.

Earlier in the trial, Mr Fielding testified that it was Chambers who made such a comment, saying ‘you made me feel like a right rapist’.

Prosecutor Simon Parry put this to Chambers and suggested that he was lying about what Mr Fielding said.

Chambers accepted he said to Mr Fielding ‘you made me feel like a right rapist’ when he returned to retrieve a jacket the complainant had been lent by his friend en route, but said he only made that remark in reaction to Mr Fielding’s statement.

“You felt like a rapist because that is exactly what you had done in that toilet,” said Mr Parry.

“Is it really a coincidence that in the same night you are alleged to have raped someone, you have got somebody who says you are acting like a rapist?”

Chambers said it was a coincidence.

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Mr Parry also suggested the complainant was ‘easy prey’, but Chambers said he knew she was vulnerable which is why he took her to the police station.

“We were never alone, not with all the CCTV and all the people around,” the defendant said. “I was just trying to help.”

Chambers – who moved on to Yorkshire a few weeks after the alleged incident and was eventually arrested in Rotherham in September – revealed he has suffered with erectile disfunction, which has affected his ability to be in a relationship.

Concluding the prosecution’s case, Mr Parry pointed out to members of the jury that the complainant was particularly poorly last May and that there were gaps in her recollection of what happened on May 29, 2015, but said she has done her ‘level best to give an honest, reliable and accurate account’.

But in his closing speech, Mr Roberts contended that Chambers ‘tried to do his best’ for the complainant.

He said: “The prosecution is centred around the premise that this man is incapable of an act of human kindness. Just because he is homeless does not mean he is a bad person.

“It does not mean he is incapable of acts of kindness.”

Mr Roberts said there is ‘not a jot’ of evidence to support the allegation that Chambers raped the complainant in between leaving the police station at around 8.12pm and arriving at the Old Harker’s Arms at around 8.30pm and suggested that ‘in the midst of her illness’ she convinced herself something happened when it did not.

Mr Roberts also dismissed the prosecution’s contention that Chambers saying he was made to feel like a rapist meant he was one as ‘nonsense’.

“Rather than prove the prosecution’s case, it actually disproves it,” added Mr Roberts.

“They are the words of a man who has been aggrieved, a man who has been treated quite badly by a male when he was just trying to help someone.

“Those are the very last words a rapist would use.”

The trial continues.