Nicholas Crawshaw took to the witness box for the first time during week three of the trial in which he is accused of a series of rape and sex offences.

Crawshaw, of West Street, Hoole, is charged with 16 sex offences, including 10 rapes, against seven victims between 2010 and 2015. He denies all charges.

Defence barrister Mark Le Brocq opened the defence case and immediately called the 23-year-old defendant to give evidence to the jury at Warrington Crown Court on Wednesday (February 24).

Mr Le Brocq said: “You’ve pleaded not guilty to all 16 counts. Are any of these allegations true?” A visibly emotional Crawshaw said no.

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The accused claimed he did not even know the first complainant - a schoolgirl who said he sexually assaulted her twice in 2010 while she was underage - and had no idea why she would make such an accusation.

He admitted he ‘knew of’ the second alleged victim - also a schoolgirl - who claimed Crawshaw raped her in an alleyway but denied the incident ever happened.

Warrington Crown Court where the trial of Nicholas Crawshaw, of West Street, Hoole, is taking place

Crawshaw said the third and fourth complainants had made up the claims he had raped them on separate occasions in Grosvenor Park.

He stressed he had never had sexual contact with the third and while he admitted having a sexual relationship with the fourth, it was a short ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement and he could not remember the last time they had sex.

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“She might have wanted more, while I just wanted no strings attached,” he told the court.

Crawshaw said he met the fifth complainant once or twice and they were Facebook friends.

But he insisted he was never in Cruise nightclub on the night she claims he raped her in the toilets of the venue because he was flying to Turkey two days later.

He said his mum was strict with him at this time and he decided he did not have enough money to go out.

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Crawshaw said he went to Turkey to go and work for his dad and the jury was shown the defendant’s passport which contained the stamp to verify his travels.

Regarding a photograph which had been taken of him which appears to prove he was in Cruise on what was a special student night, he insisted the picture was taken in the club on a date after he got back from Turkey.

Crawshaw said: “The photo was taken when I came back from Turkey, I was in Cruise and the banners from that were still around.

“I just got in the picture not knowing what was on the other side of the banner.”

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Crawshaw and the complainant exchanged text messages while he was in Turkey. He said he had wanted to meet her again but this never took place.

The accused said he did not know the sixth alleged victim - who claims she was raped in his bedroom - but that she had approached him for cocaine on a night out in Rosie’s.

Crawshaw said they went back to his house because he did not want to give her the drugs in the club because of the security. He said once they got back to his home they sniffed cocaine together and consensually tried to have sex, but he couldn’t because of the drugs.

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The 23-year-old claimed: “When she left in the morning she asked me to promise not to tell her boyfriend.”

Crawshaw denies all the charges against him. The trial at Warrington Crown Court continues.