Sunday 17 December 2017

Former DUP man William Wilkinson denies rape

Claire McNeilly

A former DUP councillor has gone on trial accused of raping a woman in the bedroom of her Co Antrim home.

William Wilkinson, who is a project co-ordinator with the victims’ group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), is charged with the rape and attempted rape in August 2008.

The 33-year-old from Tully Road, Portglenone — who left the DUP three years ago and now sits as a United Unionist Coalition Party member — denies the charges.

On the first day of the trial yesterday, a jury of five women and seven men heard the woman was attacked after putting on her pyjamas. Prosecuting QC Richard Weir told Antrim Crown Court that police traced a 999 distress call from the woman as she allegedly fought off Wilkinson, who claims that intercourse was consensual and that scratches on his body were “a joke”.

Yesterday afternoon, a video-tape was played to the court during which the woman said they were both “drunk” after going out together on August 21.

Speaking to police the day after the alleged assault, she said they had returned to her home by taxi as she was “feeling unwell” due to the heat. Antrim Crown Court was told that once home, she changed into her nightwear and got into her double bed, allegedly followed by the accused.

Mr Weir claimed that Mr Wilkinson then raped the woman and tried to rape her again, despite protests that she “didn't want sex”.

Trial Judge Geoffrey Miller also heard that the woman scratched and tried to bite Mr Wilkinson, while telling him to “get off” her and leave.

Mr Weir revealed that during her struggles the woman managed to make a 999 emergency call from a bedside phone. Mr Weir said the jury — who will hear the recording in due course — “would hear what she was saying and her tone of how she was saying it”.

When police, who managed to trace the emergency call, arrived, a male officer found Mr Wilkinson in the victim’s bedroom.

In a number of interviews the defendant later rejected her version of events, maintaining that the woman consented.

During cross-examination by defence QC John McCrudden the woman sobbed as she accepted she had sent Wilkinson a text message earlier that evening warning him they would only have a few drinks, saying: “Why should I have to put up with your bad child-like behaviour”.

Wilkinson later texted her back asking her to “go on”, and promising that he would “stick to the pints” and that “I will be super-well behaved”.

Mr McCrudden said Wilkinson “didn't stick to the deal at all”, but that the woman did not mind “as you were having a good time”.

The lawyer then suggested on their return home: “there was sex, then there was beer ... he got it from the utility room”.

The woman replied: “I don't remember that”, to which Mr McCrudden further suggested: “You remember that very well and that was the straw that broke the camel's back.”

The case continues.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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