University of Chester student tells of shock at rape accusation

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Chester Standard)

A JOURNALISM student told jurors of his shock when a police officer told him he was being arrested on suspicion of rape.

Nicholas David Paul Onyett, 22, of Vernon Road, Chester, said the colour drained from his face and he began to sweat on hearing the words.

“I was just so taken aback, so shocked,” he said. “I thought he was going to say something had happened to a family member. I became extremely frightened and upset. I was pale and sweating.”

Onyett denies raping a fellow University of Chester student following a night out at Cruise nightclub in the city on September 2, 2014.

She claims she was asleep and did not consent. He insists she invited him up to her bedroom and initiated sex.

On day three of his trial at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Onyett took the stand to give his version of events.

He told the jury he had seen the complainant briefly in the club before he left at around 3am. He had been escorted out because he vomited into a champagne bucket.

The defendant then caught up with the young woman close to the cathedral and the pair agreed to walk to the student housing area in the Garden Quarter together.

“We were walking along and I was mostly doing the talking to her,” he said.

“I asked her about the summer. Then we started holding hands. It was just some company on the way home, that's all.”

In her own evidence, she had claimed Onyett was being “forward” and “forceful”, trying to kiss her three or four times.

He accepted he kissed her, as he was being “sort of flirtatious”. However, he also said she kissed him on the cheek and at one point stopped him and put her hand on his chest.

He denied she said she had a boyfriend, and claimed she invited him into her home.

“She said 'would you like to come up to my room?',” he said. “I said 'yeah, sure' and she opened the door and we went upstairs.”

In her own evidence, the complainant said Onyett had followed her into the house and up to her room uninvited.

She fell asleep on her bed fully clothed. She said she woke to find the defendant raping her.

However, Onyett told the court she initiated sex, touching his private parts and performing a sex act on him before they had full intercourse.

He said he was surprised when her female housemate entered the room.

“She said ‘You need to leave’,” he said.

They then had an argument before Onyett left, leaving his wallet behind by mistake. It was only the next day when he was called to the police station to pick it up that he was told he was under arrest on suspicion of rape.

Cross-examining him, prosecutor Gareth Roberts suggested he knew perfectly well she wasn’t interested in his advances as she was “stumbling drunk” and just wanted to go to bed.

He said the housemate had no reason to lie when she gave evidence saying she had seen the alleged victim asleep on the bed when she came into the room, and Onyett in a state of undress.

“You know that if you have sex with someone that's asleep, it's rape?” Mr Roberts asked.

“I know that but I didn't do that,” he replied.

The defendant denies rape, assault by penetration and a charge added at yesterday's proceedings of sexual assault.

The trial continues.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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