Tuesday 11 December 2018

Commonwealth Games swimmer found not guilty of raping woman

Swimmer Otto Putland, 24, who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, leaves Cardiff Crown Court where he is accused of raping a woman after a night out in Cardiff in July 2015. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Swimmer Otto Putland, 24, who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, leaves Cardiff Crown Court where he is accused of raping a woman after a night out in Cardiff in July 2015. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A Commonwealth Games swimmer found not guilty of raping a woman who claimed he forced himself on her shortly after she had consensual sex with his friend has said the past months had been "horrendous".

In an emotional statement, Otto Putland, 24, who represented Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, said he was glad to have been "vindicated" and thanked his family and friends for their support.

Putland, of Dinedor, near Hereford, was first charged with rape after a woman he had sex with in July 2015 came forward in November 2016, claiming he had forced himself on her after she had consensual sex with his friend. Olympic swimmer Ieuan Lloyd.

Initially, Putland faced two counts of rape but was cleared of one count following a trial in September last year.

That jury failed to reach a verdict on the other count of rape relating to the same woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and the prosecution decided to proceed with a retrial which started at Cardiff Crown Court last Wednesday.

After the five-day trial, Putland said: "I am obviously very relieved by the verdict and very glad to have been vindicated, but I can't say I am elated.

"This has been going on for 18 months and the experience has been too horrendous, not just for me but my family, and especially for my mum.

"I have been very lucky to have such a loving and supportive family and good friends, and I am sorry for what they have been through."

Putland said he hoped they could now all rebuild their lives and that he hoped to be able to do that in privacy.

After taking the verdict from the jury of seven women and five men, Judge Jeremy Jenkins told Putland he was "free to leave" and thanked the jurors for the "care and attention" they had given the case.

The court previously heard the woman went home with Olympic swimmer Ieuan Lloyd after meeting him in a club and had consensual sex with him.

She said when Putland came in to the room and sat on the bed after Lloyd left, she made it clear she did not want to have sex, telling him they could not pass her around, saying "no" and turning her head away.

Putland said this was a lie and actually she was "very friendly and happy and flirtatious" while they were chatting after he had been introduced to her by Lloyd.

He said it was her demeanour which led to him kiss her and she returned his kisses, before they had consensual sex.

He said the woman did nothing to make him think she was not consenting.

The court heard the other count, which Putland was acquitted on last September, related to the woman alleging that she had gone to the bathroom to phone a friend after the first alleged incident and the next thing she remembered was hearing her phone ring and being back in the bed with Putland inside her again.

Putland denied this ever happened.

In his closing speech, Christopher Rees, for the defence, reminded jurors this was not a "court of morals".

He said: "Bad sex is not rape.

"Sex after one party has persuaded the other to have sex consensually is not rape. Regretted sex is not rape."

Mr Rees said there had been "glaring inconsistencies" in what the woman told people at various times about the night.

"She had the opportunity to say 'no' and she did not say anything," he said.

"She did not stop it. She did not call out to Ieuan Lloyd. She did not call out to anyone at all.

"From that, you can infer that she did consent or may have consented."

Press Association

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