A homeless man accused of raping a woman with mental health issues in a public toilet in Chester city centre allegedly later told a doorman who had asked him to leave her alone that he had made him ‘feel like a rapist’.
Thirty-nine-year-old Nick Chambers’ alleged victim – who has paranoid schizophrenia – told a Chester Crown Court jury on the second day of his trial today (Tuesday, April 12) that her recollection of what happened in the Kaleyards toilet is a ‘blur’ and she has suffered from memory loss since the alleged attack.
Giving her evidence via video link, she explained she had travelled to Chester by bus in order to buy some clothes on May 29 last year, but had become lost.
She encountered Chambers, who she thought was trying to help her find her bus stop.
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The complainant – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said she recalled sitting on some steps by Chester Town Hall while Chambers spoke with a police officer.
After walking for a few minutes, she said Chambers – who is from Chapeltown in Leeds – asked her to go into the toilet with him but she shook her head and said no.
She described what happened next as a blur, but said she remembers him having intercourse with her.
She added that she was hearing the voices in her head ‘a little bit’ on May 29 and thinks she took her medication.
A statement by psychiatric nurse Catherine Boyle was read to members of the jury by prosecutor Simon Parry.
Ms Boyle explained that she was seeing the complainant almost every day last May because she was ‘really poorly’.
She said the voices the complainant hears in her head may be informative or make comment on what she is doing or may give commands, including not to care for herself or take her medication.
The court heard that Cheshire West and Chester Council CCTV operator Peter Seago responded to a call on the intercom system at his office in Chester Town Hall on the evening of May 29, 2015.
He saw a male and a ‘clearly distressed’ female, and the male – Chambers – told him the complainant was ‘not quite right’ so Mr Seago sent an alert to the police.
Mr Seago revealed there is a mounted CCTV camera overlooking the area of the Kaleyards and said nothing he saw that night gave him any cause for concern, although he admitted he was responsible for looking at around 25 monitors during his shift.
PC Paul Povey was the officer who spoke to Chambers that night, but he told the court he bumped into them as he was leaving to get some food rather than responding to the CCTV operator’s alert, which he knew nothing about.
He recalled that Chambers told him the woman – who was sitting on some steps nearby – was homeless so he advised them that the nearest shelter was Richmond Court in Boughton.
No alarm bells
PC Povey accepted that he did not make any attempt to ascertain whether the complainant was physically well.
“You did not do anything to help her,” said Gareth Roberts, defending.
PC Povey agreed but said there was ‘nothing obvious’ which set alarm bells ringing for him about her well-being.
The trial earlier heard that the alleged rape is claimed to have taken place prior to the pair visiting the Old Harker’s Arms.
The jury also heard from Old Harker’s Arms doorman Aaron Fielding, who spotted Chambers and the complainant outside the pub and instinctively felt there was ‘something wrong with the picture’.
“She had a helpless look about her and a not-in-control look about her,” Mr Fielding said.
“He was trying to guide her; trying to impose his will without physically pushing her. She appeared confused. Totally in the wrong environment and totally vulnerable.”
When they sat down on the pub’s outside seating, he gave them a few minutes but then went over and asked them to move on as the area was reserved for customers.
Mistook her for foreign
Chambers and the complainant left, but when Mr Fielding came back outside a couple of moments later, she was standing next to him while Chambers was standing in the road facing the pub.
Mr Fielding said he couldn’t understand what she was saying and mistook her for being foreign.
He told the court he instructed Chambers to walk back towards the centre of Chester for ten minutes in order to give the complainant time to get away from him ‘if she needed to’.
He said: “That was the best I could do to ensure her safety at that time.”
Mr Fielding said they went in opposite directions but then he saw them walking together in the direction of the city centre.
Minutes later, Mr Fielding said Chambers ‘stomped’ up to him in an aggressive manner and said words to the effect of ‘what was that about before? You made me feel like a right rapist’.
Mr Fielding refuted Mr Roberts’ claim that the complainant was present and within earshot when Chambers made the comment.
Chambers has pleaded not guilty and denies any sexual contact took place.
The trial continues.