Victim 'tried to scream but it would not come out', jury hears in Northampton sex attack trial

The court heard how Herminie and his alleged victim entered the graveyard together.
The court heard how Herminie and his alleged victim entered the graveyard together.

The alleged rape victim of a Northampton man says she 'tried to scream but it wouldn't come out' in an attack in a town centre graveyard.

Eric Herminie, 53, of Newnham Road, Kingsthorpe, appeared at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (October 17) for the second day of his trial. He faces three counts of rape and three counts of assault by penetration.​

Read the Chronicle's report on the prosecution's opening statement here from yesterday here.

The court heard how Herminie and the woman had met at a pub in Northampton town centre on May 8.

The alleged victim told the jury how she had nearly no interaction with Herminie during the night, aside from some "general chit chat", and had no "physical attraction to him".

Reportedly, when she went to leave the pub, Herminie tagged along and they walked to the St Giles graveyard. She followed him into the churchyard because he "had her tobacco pouch".

She said: "He pulled me down the back wall of the graveyard. He grabbed me by the waist, pulled my clothes off and raped me.

"I could hear people walking nearby. I tried to scream but it wouldn't come out."

Within half an hour of the incident, the woman reported it to Serenity Northants, a sexual assault referral charity, at Northampton General Hospital.

The jury had previously heard they would be told "polar opposite" accounts of the incident, after which police taped off the graveyard to investigate.

Defence barrister Sarah McIntyre posed that the woman had consensual sex with Herminie in the graveyard, and made up the allegations out of "shame".

Miss McIntyre said: "Do you recall saying you fancied Mr Herminie... [and] that he had 'beautiful lips'?"

"No", the woman replied.

Miss McIntyre said: "Do you recall it was you who suggested having sex outside?"

"No," the woman replied.

Miss McIntyre said: "When you first reported the incident, you told officers at the Serenity Centre that you first met Herminie outside the graveyard when he asked for a cigarette. You told them 'Eric had not been in the pub that night'.

The woman said: "I accept that's something I said. It might have been... I can't remember what I said [to the officers]."

The jury was also shown CCTV footage of Herminie and the woman at the pub, and of them entering the graveyard.

The trial continues.