THE man accused of raping a stranger in Chester city centre has given evidence at Chester Crown Court.

Connor Brown, 25, stands accused of the rape of a young woman in the early hours of September 5, 2018.

Brown, of Queen Street, denies the charge, said to have happened in a small car park just off an alleyway by Northgate Street after 4am.

Chester Crown Court heard it was accepted by both prosecution and defence that Brown and the alleged victim – now 24, but who cannot be named – had been to Rosies nightclub earlier that night, and after they met while the woman was sat on steps outside Storyhouse, they both went to the car park.

It was also accepted that there was kissing between the two, and that was consensual, and that there was sexual activity.

The prosecution allege the sex was not consensual, while the defence say it was.

Giving evidence on Wednesday and Thursday, January 8-9, Brown – questioned by defence solicitor Anna Price – confirmed to the jury he had no previous convictions and was currently studying a masters degree in drama at the University of Chester.

On the night in question, he had been drinking at the Bull & Stirrup pub before going to Rosies, leaving at 3.30am and seeing his friend leave in a taxi.

He said it was his intention to walk home when he saw a young woman on the steps of Storyhouse, who was alone and looked "pretty distressed and crying".

Brown said he asked her if she was OK and she replied she had been left by her friend.

A taxi pulled up and the driver told her to get in, but she said she needed to find her friend.

Brown said he had managed to calm her down and he got her on to her feet and the woman gestured towards an alleyway, saying that is where her friend could be.

It became apparent the woman had her friend's handbag, which contained items including a phone and keys.

They walked to the car park past the alleyway, then came to a kerb, where she sat down.

Brown said things were "going really well" at that point, with the woman "giggling" and made advances towards him.

They began kissing, and the kissing became passionate, Brown told the court, which lasted about "20 to 30 seconds".

Brown said the woman positioned both of them as ready to have consensual sex, which lasted about 10 to 20 seconds before Brown stopped, telling the court he was in a relationship at the time and did not want to be unfaithful to his girlfriend.

Brown told the court the woman initially giggled, then called him 'James', to which he replied "No, it's Connor." He said she appeared confused, but as the discussion went on as they came back to Northgate Street, she talked about finding her friend again and became distressed.

Brown said he asked if she needed a taxi, she replied no, and told him to "go away".

Brown's work colleagues arrived and as the woman was crying and began to get "aggressive", one of Brown's colleagues called police on 101, with the force replying they would arrive in a couple of minutes. Brown then walked away with his work colleagues.

Cross-examined by prosecutor Maria Masselis, Brown said he believed both he and the woman to be about "five out of 10" on a drunkenness scale when they met.

Asked if he thought he was being a 'Good Samaritan' by offering to help the woman find her friend, Brown replied: "Yes."

Brown said he had asked the woman where she had last seen her friend, but she did not reply.

Ms Masselis asked: "Did you not find that a bit odd?" Brown replied: "Yes, I suppose, a bit."

Ms Masselis also questioned why Brown did not suggest taking the woman back to outside Rosies, or the taxi rank on Bridge Street, where she would be more likely to find her friend.

Brown replied the woman had gestured towards the alleyway on Northgate Street, but not verbally.

Ms Masselis added: "You only went to one location; this was hardly an extensive search?" to which Brown agreed.

The prosecutor said it would not have taken more than a few seconds to see the car park was clear, and they could have gone elsewhere.

Brown also accepted that when the woman said, after they had kissed, that she had kissed a stranger, he replied that kissing or sleeping with someone does not make you a bad person.

Asked: "You were the first to mention sex?" Brown replied: "Yes."

Ms Masselis added: "Because sex was on your mind?" Brown replied: "No."

Previously in the trial, the alleged victim said she had told Brown 'no' to having sex and added she was on her period.

Questioned about this, Brown denied the woman had said those things.

Ms Masselis said upon them returning to Northgate Street, the woman was still in the same position as before – no found friend and no taxi.

Asked why Brown had not stayed around to help police with the incident once they had been called, Brown replied the police had told his work colleague they were round the corner or a couple of minutes away.

He added as he left the scene with his work colleagues, he could see what looked to be a police car approaching the scene, but was not 100 per cent sure it was heading to see the woman.

The jury of 11 is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Friday, January 10. A male juror was discharged from the jury on Wednesday after His Honour Judge Nicholas Woodward was made aware of a possible 'jury irregularity' in relation to possible misconduct.