A vulnerable woman who claims she was raped by a homeless man in Chester city centre told a police officer that night, but he mistakenly thought she was referring to a historical allegation which had been resolved.

Nick Chambers, 39, is standing trial at Chester Crown Court charged with raping the woman, who has paranoid schizophrenia, in one of the Kaleyards public toilets on May 29 last year.

The complainant was reported missing by her family that day, after she failed to tell anyone she was travelling to Chester from her home in Flintshire to go shopping.

The court heard today (Wednesday, April 13) that PC Martin Middleton attended The Mill Hotel at around 10pm on May 29, 2015, after staff notified police that a woman in the bar area matched the description of a missing woman they had been alerted about.

Very confused

PC Middleton recalled it was difficult to communicate with the complainant because she appeared ‘very confused’ and gave him the wrong surname when he asked for her name.

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When PC Middleton questioned her as to why she had come to Chester, he said she replied that she had been sleeping rough in the city for the past five to seven days.

He told her she had only been reported missing from home that evening but she was ‘adamant’ that she had been sleeping in doorways, he said.

Historical allegation

The complainant told PC Middleton she had been raped, but he told the jury he got the impression it was a historical allegation which had been dealt with.

“I did not believe it to be some kind of disclosure,” he said. “If I did, I would have acted on it. She made reference to it being a long time ago.”

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PC Middleton added that he did not believe she was the victim of any immediate crime, nor did he have any information that was the case.

The third day of Chambers’ trial also heard from her father, who said her condition ‘went downhill quite quickly’ last May due to a change in medication.

Talking to her voices

At the time of the incident, he recalled she was ‘very poorly, constantly talking to her voices and confused a lot’.

When she was returned to the family home by police late on May 29, he said she was not communicating and it was decided to take her to the A&E at Wrexham Maelor Hospital to get her checked over and have her mental health assessed.

It was there that she revealed to him and to psychiatric nurses that she had been raped by a homeless man that day.

The complainant’s father said: “She said she had been raped and when the staff asked by who she said by a tramp or a vagrant, I can’t remember the exact words.

“She said he told her he would help her and that he took her to the men’s toilets, but she was not specific about which toilets.”

The complainant’s dad said the medical staff moved away from the issue and focussed on her condition, but he feels that ‘something more should have been done’.

'I feel I let her down'

The alleged attack was reported to the police by the complainant’s mother 16 days later, after the complainant repeated her claim to her.

The complainant’s father explained that he did not tell his wife or report the matter to police himself because he did not feel mentally strong enough to cope with his daughter’s allegation due to a sexual trauma from his own past, but he did believe her.

“I feel like I let her down because if her mum had been there, she would have forced the issue,” he said.

He accepted the assertion of Gareth Roberts, defending, that the voices in his daughter’s head had become more frequent and persistent at that time, but rejected the claim that she was detached from reality. He said she still knew what was going on.

Mr Roberts put it to the complainant’s father that she also told him and the medical staff that ‘God and the Devil had taken over the world and she was living in purgatory’, so she was saying ‘fantastic’ things as a result of her condition rather than fact.

‘Yes’, answered the complainant’s father.

Chambers denies rape and insists no sexual contact took place between him and the complainant.

The trial continues.