Jury set to be sent out to find verdict in trial of alleged rape by two men at Northampton bedsit

The prosecutor claims the men "couldn't care less" if the woman consented that night, and labelled one of the defendants "pathetic and weak".

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 2:33 pm

A jury is due to be sent out this afternoon, Thursday, to deliberate whether two men raped a woman at a Northampton bedsit.

A trial has been underway this week over the alleged sexual assault of a woman at the hands of four men in a Billing Brook flat in August 2019.

Today (May 27) at Northampton Crown Court, a jury heard the closing arguments a prosecutor who says the defendants "couldn't case less" whether the woman consented to their advances.

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A jury has been sent out to decide the verdict in an alleged Northampton rape trial.

It is alleged the men in the dock - John Cunningham, 28, of no fixed abode, and 37-year-old Dennis McGowan, of Mounts Court, - were two of four men who raped the woman that night. Both have denied all charges and claim they had sex with the woman consensually.

"They couldn't care less what she wanted," said prosecutor Mr Andrew Howarth. "They couldn't care less whether she was consenting or not.

"And when she had a few drinks she went to the bathroom, and when she did John Cunningham followed her in and raped her.

"And then [another man] raped her, and then [another male] raped her as well.

"And that leaves the pathetic and weak Dennis McGowan [...] It was when the others weren't there that he made his move [...]. He chose to have sex with her even when she said no and that she wanted to go home."

The evidence has included an hour-long recording the defendant made in secret during the the incident that included McGowan talking to the woman before having sex with her.

When he gave evidence in the dock, McGowan was asked to explain how the woman saying "please let me go home" and "I don't want to" was consent.

But in his own closing argument, McGowan's defense barrister Mr Daniel Green told the jury: "I want you to listen to the recording [...] you will find in fact that [the woman] is not simply resigned but actively participating in a sexual act.

"And I say that clearly shows that McGowan could form a reasonable view that she is consenting."

The barrister also dismissed the woman's story as "nonsense," "full of holes" and he personally "did not buy it".

Cunningham - who in her police interviews the woman referred to as "the big white bloke" who "did the most" and allegedly encouraged other men in the flat to have sex with her - claims he only had sex with her consensually.

His defence barrister, Mr Steven Talbot Hadley- drew the jury to how the hour-long recording captured Cunningham telling others to let the woman sleep, him ordering her a taxi and asking if she was "alright" outside as evidence he cared for her welfare and that their sex was consensual.

When she gave evidence, the woman denied "flirting" with Cunningham and said he "did the most" in relation to the alleged incident.