The fourth day of the trial of Hoole man Nicholas Crawshaw gets under way at Warrington Crown Court today (Friday, October 6). The 23-year-old is accused of 11 sex offences, including six rapes. Crawshaw denies all of the charges against him. Chronicle reporter Mike Fuller will be providing updates from today's proceedings.
Day four concludes
The complainant has finished giving evidence.
This will be the end of our updates from Warrington Crown Court this afternoon, thank you for following along.
The trial will resume on Monday morning.
Suggestion of conspiracy
Mr Mills said: “It’s been suggested that you and (third complainant) have had a conspiracy to tell lies about Nick Crawshaw. This has gone as far as making separate reports to (a mutual friend) to make your story seem more reliable.
“What is your reaction to that?”
She said: “It’s absolutely rubbish.
“I just don’t understand what the hell either of us would have to gain from that.”
'You expect it to be a stranger'
Mr Le Brocq said: “You never even went into Grosvenor Park on the night you are telling us with Nick Crawshaw did you?”
The complainant replies she did, she ‘was there’.
Mr Le Brocq said: “This was essentially a public place. He would be taking a risk by taking you there and raping you. You could have shouted out?”
The woman says she did scream out.
The defence then asks why she did not tell her friends or the police straight away.
She said: “I didn’t really know what had happened. I didn’t know that was rape. You expect it to be a stranger not a friend who you trusted.”
'Got your heads together'
Mr Le Brocq is now cross-examining the witness.
He said: “Is it right there are three other complainants in the case making allegations against Nick Crawshaw with whom you’ve had discussions.”
Both this complainant and the third complainant allege they were raped in Grosvenor Park.
Mr Le Brocq said: “The reason your reports are so similar is because you’ve got your heads together to make false allegations.”
The witness says this is not true.
Mr Mills for the prosecution asks the woman which of the other alleged victims she knows.
She confirms she is friends, or has been friends, with the third, fourth and fifth complainants, who all went to the same high school in Chester.
The complainant’s video interview has now finished.
She will be giving her live evidence via video link.
Two of the people she told about what happened included the third and fourth complainants in the case.
Speaking about coming forward to report her allegations, she said: “I feel stupid about it now because I should’ve done something about it a long time ago.
“If I did something back then then it might not have happened to someone else.”
The interviewing police officer asks the woman how it has affected her.
She said: “You never completely get over it. I don’t think it’s something you ever get over.
“It’s just something you learn to deal with.
“I have seen him a few times on nights out since. I just had to learn to deal with that fact. I would see him in clubs and just move around the club to avoid him.”
In the following weeks the alleged victim told a few of her friends, but did not want to go to the police.
She said: “I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t tell my family.
“I was too scared. I was too young.
“Because I hadn’t gone to the police straight away I had nothing and nobody would believe me.”
She added she considered Crawshaw a friend and had previously had consensual sex with him.
Crawshaw did not say anything while this was happening, the court hears.
She said: “It was over pretty quickly. I just remember staring at the same branch.
“He didn’t say anything until we went back over to the bench and told me to not tell anyone about this.
“At the time I almost didn’t think it had happened, I just thought I had had sex when I didn’t want to. You never expect that to happen to you.
“It wasn’t until two weeks later I realised it was a lot more than that. Throughout those two weeks I had just been feeling really weird, I had been lashing out.
“I was just sat in my room and I just completely broke down and started crying.”
'I shouted for him to stop'
She continued: “It was pretty quick after that.
“I said ‘should we go now?’ I went to walk away and he grabbed my arm.
“He put his hands down my pants again, then bent me over and pulled his trousers down.
“When he bent me over he held my arm behind my back. I felt frozen.
“I shouted for him to stop but it felt so pointless because there was nobody else in the park to hear me. It was late.
“I almost accepted defeat.”
'It felt wrong'
The complainant said: “I had hold of his arm and I was telling him to stop it.
“It wasn’t until his hand went too far that I stood up.”
She says she wanted to leave, but Crawshaw convinced her he would not try anything again.
The defendant took her bag and umbrella off her before they both sat down and started talking again.
She said: “I felt really awkward. It felt wrong.
“He suggested we should go into some bushes behind where the bench was. I told him I thought he was going to try something on me and he said he wouldn’t.”
They went and sat in a clearing, where she says the defendant pointed out across to his house in Boughton.
The complainant says she was ‘good friends’ with him for over a year prior to the incident.
They met up in Chester near Grosvenor Park and went for a ‘really long walk’. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and she was ‘on a break’ with her boyfriend, the court hears.
After sitting down on a bench, Crawshaw said ‘the best way to get over someone is to get with someone else’ before he tried to kiss her.
Initially she refused, but kissed him back when he tried again. She said she then told him they should stop as she wanted to get back with her partner.
Crawshaw then forced his hand down the front of her trousers, the court hears.
Case called on for afternoon sitting
The prosecution is moving on to the allegations from the seventh complainant in the case, once more starting with her video interview.
She has claimed Crawshaw raped her in Grosvenor Park in March or April of 2012.
One count of rape and two counts of assault by penetration relate to this alleged victim.
The trial has broken for lunch until just after 2pm.
The court hears the witness received a phone call from Crawshaw from a withheld number after he had made his statements to police.
The pair have known each other since early in secondary school.
The witness says Crawshaw mentioned the watch he had brought back from Turkey in that conversation.
He said he ‘didn’t know if it was appropriate’ to be taking calls from the defendant and put the phone down.
After hanging up he received another call which he did not answer, and a few texts messages.
Crisp-themed club night
Prosecution counsel is showing him his witness statement which he provided to the police in June of this year.
On it, his recollections he had seen ‘crisps flying all over the club’ on the night of the alleged incident had been crossed out, the witness assumes the officer making the statement must have just misheard him. It was corrected when it was read back to him.
The witness is back in the courtroom after the legal discussion.
Mr Mills starts his re-examination.
Pause in proceedings
There will be a short break while a legal matter is dealt with.
The jury has been sent out of the courtroom.
The defence is asking the witness about the night in Cruise.
He says he believes the watch Crawshaw is wearing in the photo may have been one which he brought back from a holiday to Turkey.
Crawshaw’s defence is he had stayed in on the night of the alleged incident as he was due to go to holiday to Turkey the following day.
No cause for concern, says Crawshaw's friend
Mr Le Brocq is cross-examining the witness.
He said: “When you saw they were having sex in the bedroom. You didn’t think anything of that did you?
“You didn’t hear anything that would give you cause for concern?”
The witness says no.
Cruise nightclub photo
Mr Mills is now asking the witness about evidence relating to the eighth complainant in the case.
It is the photo which the prosecution believes proves Crawshaw was in Cruise nightclub the night he raped her in a toilet in July of 2012.
The witness is also in the picture.
Crawshaw claims he was not in the club that night.
The witness says he does not remember the night in question, which was a themed crisp night, but admits they were there.
Witness went to look for them
The next witness is Crawshaw’s friend who hosted the gathering on the night of the alleged incident.
He says they ‘used to’ go on nights out quite often.
The witness says he went to go and find Crawshaw and the complainant after the two pairs had separated.
He believes they went to ‘get a drink’. After walking across the hall he saw they were having sex in one of the bedrooms after ‘just opening and closing the door’.
Mr Le Brocq puts it to the witness that the ‘real’ reason Crawshaw and the complainant left the room was because she and his friend needed some privacy, rather than a panic attack.
The witness says this is not true.
This concludes her evidence.
'She looked scared'
After a while Crawshaw’s friend went to find them, he came back and told the witness they had been having sex.
The complainant was ‘scared’ when she next saw her.
The witness said: “Last I saw her she was all happy then when I saw her again she wouldn’t say anything, she looked as if something had happened.
“She looked scared.
“I asked her about it on the way home. She said he was forceful.
“She told me that he had pinned her down on the bed by her hands and she was saying no.”
The court is now hearing evidence from the friend who went with the complainant to Crawshaw’s mate’s house on the night of the alleged incident.
The witness says they were ‘probably best friends’ at the time, but have since grown apart.
She adds herself and the complainant had been drinking before they went to the gathering on the night in question.
The witness, who was ‘dating’ Crawshaw’s friend at the time, had a panic attack while they were gathered in his room. This is when Crawshaw took the complainant out of the room.
'Jumping on the bandwagon' accusation
Mr Le Brocq asks her about her evidence there was blood on the bed. The complainant says there was also blood in her underwear.
As she only came forward after seeing coverage of the first trial, the defence accuses her of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ with her accusation.
She said: “I’m not lying. I’ve got better things to do than make up lies.”
This concludes her evidence.
Crawshaw claims sex was consensual
Mark Le Brocq, defending, is now cross-examining the complainant.
He said: “Understand that this is what Nicholas Crawshaw tells me, you didn’t drink anything while Nick was with you in the room did you?”
The witness says she cannot remember when she had the two drinks she consumed that night.
Mr Le Brocq suggests the pair never went downstairs. She says this encounter happened.
The defence case is that the sex between Crawshaw and the complainant was consensual.
Mr Le Brocq said: “Mr Crawshaw is not denying there was sexual intercourse, but his case is that you went along with it. You were consenting.”
The alleged victim denies this.
Mr Le Brocq asks why she did not go straight to the police, and the reason she did this was because she had ‘nothing to complain about’.
The complainant says this is not true.
Knowledge of other complainants
The complainant is now sat in the witness box ready to give evidence from behind a screen.
In his examination in chief, Simon Mills, prosecuting, asks the witness whether she knows any of the other alleged victims in the case. She says she is aware of some of the names, but nothing beyond that.
The complainant says she came forward to the police after seeing the coverage by the Chronicle in the run up to Crawshaw’s first trial.
She said: “I didn’t want to tell anyone at first as I wasn’t 100% sure what had happened.
“I felt sick when I saw the headlines.
“That’s when I realised my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. In the back of my mind I had always thought something wasn’t right about that night.
“I wish I had come forward sooner.”