Jury set to go out today as man stands accused of sex attack in Northampton town centre

Police sealed off St Giles Church in Northampton after the allegation was made earlier this year
Police sealed off St Giles Church in Northampton after the allegation was made earlier this year

A jury hearing the case of a Northampton man charged with rape following an alleged incident in the town centre is due to go out today, Thursday.

The trial of Eric Herminie, 53, of Newnham Road, Kingsthorpe, began at Northampton Crown Court on Monday (October 16). He faces three counts of rape and three counts of assault.

He was arrested after an alleged sex attack against a woman on a night out in May in the graveyard of St Giles Church.

Prosecutor Caroline Bray told the jury their accounts of the night were ”polar opposite”. Miss Bray said: “Their accounts differ greatly. She says he forced her to the floor and raped her. He says this was all consensual.”

Earlier in the week, the woman told the court she had seen him in the pub and had no “physical attraction to him”.

She told the court that she had followed him to the churchyard because he had her tobacco. When they got there, she said, Herminie raped her. She said she had tried to scream but “it hadn’t come out”.

Yesterday, Herminie told the court the woman had been “flirting” with him at the pub, and became “an animal” as they left and directed him to the graveyard for sex.

CCTV played to the court showed the two arriving at the graveyard, with Herminie walking a few paces ahead.

He said: “She did consent. There’s no way I could have done that to her. It’s just not me. After we were done, we hugged and went separate ways. It was nice.”

After Herminie left, the alleged victim walked straight to Northampton General Hospital and reported the incident, all within half an hour of entering the graveyard. The prosecution says CCTV footage shows her “staggering” through the hospital “in distress”.

When doctors examined her, they found both her knees were bruised. When police arrested Herminie from his home the day after the incident, he was wearing a blood-stained t-shirt and jumper from the night before. Forensic evidence confirmed the blood was the woman’s.

Herminie said: “I didn’t think to change my clothes. I was feeling lazy. I didn’t know I was in trouble then either.”

Miss Bray said: “You led her into the graveyard, didn’t you? You took her down that path into an area that was pitch black, where you raped her.”

“That is not true,” said Herminie.

Miss Bray told the jury: “At 9.25pm, she went into that graveyard. You saw that she walked straight and steady. At 9.49pm, she was in the hospital, with a limp, staggering and distressed. The defence says she has made up these allegations out of shame.”

The defence is due to sum up today before the jury retires to make its verdict.