A young woman woke up to find a man on her face down in her bed, listening to Luton Crown Court.
She told the court how she had managed to turn around, and he left the room in boxers and t-shirt before returning moments later.
The woman who had spent the evening in Bedford town center drinking said, “He came back and said you are fine and I said why did you do that?”
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She said she ordered him to leave her Bedford house and after he left she knocked on her parents’ bedroom door to tell them what had happened.
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James Stark, 25, of Green End, Renhold, Bedford, was charged with rape and assault in 2017 following the incident.
Prosecutor Marion Smullen opened the case to the jury, stating that the incident occurred in the early hours of August 2017.
She told the court that the young woman, then 21, had been to Bedford the night before to meet up with friends and drink at Esquires bar.
At the end of the night, the court was notified that the woman and Stark had taken a taxi back to their parents’ house.
The court was told that the couple was alone in their home lounge early in the morning.
When she arrived, she had put on shorts and a T-shirt and brought a duvet to sit under while watching TV, chatting, and drinking alcohol.
Miss Smullen said that the woman finally decided to go upstairs to bed and leave the defendant on the sofa below.
The jury was told she went to bed in shorts, panties and a t-shirt.
As was her custom, the prosecutor said, when she fell asleep she put on headphones to listen to music.
When she testified in court, the woman said, “The next thing I know, I woke up and he (Stark) is on top of me in my bed. He was above me, in me. “
At the same time, she said that she heard him breathing close to her ear.
The woman said she could still turn around “sleepy and disoriented”, then the defendant got out of bed and briefly left the room.
She said she noticed that her panties had been removed and she was lying next to her on the bed.
Going on with her testimony, she continued, “He came in and said, ‘Are you all right?’ I didn’t say anything and started crying like I was crying and I said ‘why did you do that?’ I was just shocked. “
She said the defendant was wearing his boxer shorts and t-shirt and went on, “I kept saying, just go, get the f *** out.”
The woman said he left and then went to her parents’ bedroom to tell her mother what happened.
The court heard that Stark had left his pants, hat, cell phone and passport at the victim’s home.
He was arrested at his home address later that morning.
Ms. Smullen said the defendant did not respond to any comment on questions put to him during police interrogation, but later on his defense case statement he said that there was digital penetration and that it was done with her consent.
The prosecutor told the jury that it was because of his allegation that there was an alternative charge to the rape charge, namely assault through penetration.
On the witness stand, Mr. Stark told the court at the woman’s home that they drank while watching TV.
“She mentioned to me that she wanted to go upstairs. She indicated by her body language and the way she looked at me that I should follow her too. She went upstairs and I followed her upstairs. “
He said they “hugged” each other in her bedroom and he said she took off his hat.
Next he said he took off his pants and he took off her shorts when they got on the bed where he said he took off her panties.
His attorney Richard Reynolds asked him, “Did you have any doubts about what she wanted from you?” He replied, “No.”
The lawyer asked him, “What did you think you were going to do?” Mr. Stark replied: “Will you be intimacy, sex or heavy caresses, kissing.”
He said he was lying in a “spoon position” next to her on the bed and put his hand between her legs and touched her intimately.
But, he told the jury, he was starting to doubt “what I was doing” and he said he paused and left the room to go to the bathroom.
He said when he came back, “she looked at me angry” and he said she told him to go and finally told him to “fuck up”.
He continued, “I panicked because I didn’t understand what was going on.”
When asked why he hadn’t taken his clothes and belongings with him, he replied: “It was pure panic. When she said, ‘Fuck out’, I didn’t understand. “
Today Stark was found not guilty of rape of the woman by a jury but found guilty of assault by penetration.
Stark sobbed in the dock after the jury pronounced the verdict.
Trial judge Gary Lucie adjourned the reporting conviction to January 28, 2022, pending bail.
He ordered that Stark be subject to an electronically monitored curfew until he was convicted if he had to be at home between 7 and 7 a.m.
But before leaving the court, the judge said to Stark, “By giving you bail I am not giving you any indication of how you will be treated.”
The judge said it was likely that he would be sentenced to “immediate prison”.
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