Friday 23 June 2017

Teen escort 'still loved married police officer even though he raped me'

Peter Lower, a sergeant with Avon and Somerset Police, leaves Bristol Crown Court where he is on trial accused of rape, sexual assault, assault and false imprisonment Credit: Rod Minchin/PA Wire
Peter Lower, a sergeant with Avon and Somerset Police, leaves Bristol Crown Court where he is on trial accused of rape, sexual assault, assault and false imprisonment Credit: Rod Minchin/PA Wire

Rod Minchin

An escort girl who embarked on an adulterous affair with a married police officer told a court she still loved him even though she accuses him of repeatedly raping her.

The woman in her mid-20s alleges that Peter Lower physically and sexually assaulted her over the course of several months in 2009, when she was a teenager.

Lower, 52, a custody sergeant with Avon and Somerset Police, first contacted her on the Platinum Select escort website in the February of that year, Bristol Crown Court heard.

The alleged victim told the court she offered services such as "entertaining men", "visiting customers at hotels" and "entertaining mature clients".

She said that dates with clients did not always lead to sex as it could just be dinner or companionship.

The court heard they first met in a cafe in February 2009 and had sex for the first time on another occasion at his house while his wife and children were out.

Lower did not pay her for sex but instead helped her with her application to join the police, which was unsuccessful. She later joined the special constabulary for a short time.

As their relationship continued they would meet in hotel rooms in Bristol or at the house of a friend of the alleged victim.

The jury watched DVDs of interviews the woman recorded with the police last year in which she described how Lower had repeatedly attacked her.

On one occasion the married father of two is said to have put a pillow case over her head, tied a dressing gown cord around her hands and led her to the shower where he drenched her in water.

Read more: Married police officer 'raped teenage call girl he had an affair with'

The woman alleges that in another incident Lower throttled her until she passed out.

Later, answering questions via videolink from prosecutor Peter Coombe, the woman told the court why she stayed with the defendant.

"Because I loved him," she said.

Fighting back tears, the woman explained why she kept up contact with Lower.

"It sounds so pathetic. I loved him and I genuinely thought he might have left his wife to be with me," she said.

"He said he was stressed out with work and he said he didn't have many friends and he said I was the only person he could talk to."

In April 2014 the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, reported her allegations to police.

Explaining why, she told the court: "It was driving me insane and that's why I reported it. He said he wouldn't let it get to court and said 'I have nothing to lose and I will just end it all'.

"I felt I had to keep talking to him because I didn't want him to do anything stupid.

"It had been playing on my mind so much and my life was spiralling. He was wearing a uniform that I wanted to wear... and he did those things... and was wearing that uniform.

"There were other people who wanted to wear that uniform. Because he was a custody sergeant and he would book people in... and he had done 10 times worse."

The woman told the jury that she invented two men to make Lower jealous.

"It's really embarrassing... I wanted to make him jealous and I was annoyed that he would go home to his wife and kids and spend only half an hour with me," she said.

After splitting up they continued to exchange emails and the woman said that they discussed the alleged rapes in correspondence.

"If anything happened he would be really apologetic straight after," she told the jury.

"He would be saying 'That's not what I'm like'. I would be trying to reassure him and saying just pretend it hadn't happened.

"I always felt that if he admitted it in an email it would draw a line under it. Every time he said it wouldn't happen again, he would do it again and it would be worse."

Lower, of Hill Path, Banwell, North Somerset denies three charges of rape; three charges of assault by penetration; one charge of sexual assault; four charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a single charge of false imprisonment.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

Press Association

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