Closing speeches in trial of man accused of Plenty of Fish rape

PUBLISHED: 08:45 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 24 May 2018

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

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A man accused of raping a 40-year-old woman he met online has decided not to give evidence in his trial.

Conrad Nelson, 39, is alleged to have raped the woman after meeting her through the Plenty of Fish dating website.

Nelson, formerly of Raglan Street, Lowestoft, has denied rape and assault by penetration on the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Nelson claimed she made up the allegations after she discovered he had been messaging other women and wanted some kind of “payback”.

After the prosecution closed its case at Norwich Crown Court, Nelson’s barrister Andrew Thompson told the jury the defendant had chosen not to give evidence in his trial.

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Thompson said the issue they would have to decide is whether the defendant reasonably believed the woman had consented to the sexual encounters which took place.

Mr Thompson said they had to be sure the woman had told them the truth and claimed she had “exaggerated” some aspects of the case: “You have to be sure she has told you the truth.”

He said Nelson did not accept he had been controlling to her and abusive. Mr Thompson told jurors that unless they were sure, they should return a verdict of not guilty.

He said the relationship may have been “toxic” and said there could have been an element of “payback” behind the allegations.

Lindsay Cox, prosecuting, in his closing speech, said the defendant claimed the allegations had been motivated by revenge because he had contacted other women.

However the victim said in evidence that coming forward to make the complaint was the hardest thing she ever had to do.

Mr Cox said: “What on earth has she got to gain from it?”

He said because Nelson had not given evidence, it had left unanswered questions and meant his version had not come under close scrutiny.

The judge is expected to sum up in the case before sending the jury out.

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