Man in dock 20 years after alleged indecent assault on woman in Northampton churchyard

A woman was allegedly indecently assaulted in St Giles Churchyard , Northampton. on March 1, 1996
A woman was allegedly indecently assaulted in St Giles Churchyard , Northampton. on March 1, 1996

A 59-year-old man has appeared in court charged with indecently assaulting a woman in a churchyard in Northampton 20 years ago.

David Townsend, of Windmill Avenue, Blisworth, was arrested after his DNA matched a sample of semen taken from clothing belonging to a woman who reported that she had been attacked by a man in the early hours of March 1, 1996.

Northampton Crown Court heard, on the night of the alleged attack, the woman had been on a night out with friends and had visited a number of pubs and bars in the town centre.

Sarah Gaunt, prosecuting, said when the woman was at nightclub in the town centre when she decided she’d had too much to drink and wanted to get a taxi home.

After sitting down outside to have a cigarette, the woman alleges a man began talking to her and told her he knew where she could get a taxi.

The court heard the pair walked towards St Giles Churchyard and it is alleged the woman was then pinned to the ground and indecently assaulted.

Ms Gaunt said the woman felt scared and pushed the man away when he attempted to force her to perform oral sex.

The court heard the man ejaculated on the woman.

Giving evidence, the alleged victim, who is now in her 40s, said she had told the man to stop.

She said: “I did not want to do anything like that as I had a boyfriend.

“Afterwards I felt disgusted, dirty and horrible.”

After the man left, the woman went and told a nearby policewoman what had happened.

The woman was taken to the police station and a DNA sample was taken from her clothes.

Ms Gaunt said, in 2013, a DNA sample was taken from Townsend and it was matched on the police’s database to the sample taken from the woman’s clothes.

The court heard that a DNA expert calculated the possibility of it belonging to anyone else but Townsend as “one billion to one”.

Townsend was arrested and admitted that he had “enjoyed a sexual encounter with a woman” at the time of the alleged attack.

In a police interview, he told detectives he had met a woman on a night out and he’d had sex with her.

Townsend said the woman had undressed herself and denied he had ejaculated on her face or hair.

He said the sexual activity with the woman was consensual.

Townsend denies four counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted indecent assault.

The trial continues.