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Thursday, 21 June 2018

Man being sued in civil case denies raping woman in St Andrews

Written by Hilary Duncanson

A man has told a court he did not rape a woman who has raised a civil legal action against him.

Stephen Coxen admitted he had been "rude" towards the woman on the night in question and that their time together became upsetting, but he denied the allegation he faces.

The 23-year-old told the court he was "really shocked" in 2014 when he initially found out the claim was being made against him.

Coxen, from Bury in Lancashire, is being sued by the woman who accuses him of raping her in St Andrews, Fife, after a night out in September 2013.

Coxen (pictured) denied the charges and in November 2015 a jury found the case against him not proven, a verdict of acquittal.

His alleged victim, known as the pursuer in the case, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has brought a civil action to the Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh. Coxen was giving evidence in his defence on Thursday.

Stephen O'Rourke QC - representing Coxen, who contests the action - asked him: "Do you understand the very serious allegation made in those (criminal) proceedings and made against you in these proceedings is that you raped the pursuer?"

"Yes," replied Coxen.

"Do you understand what rape means?" the lawyer continued.

"Yes," said Coxen.

"Did you rape the pursuer?" the QC asked.

"No," he answered.

Coxen told the court he was visiting his friend Dominic Hurst in St Andrews on the weekend in question and they went out with some friends to the Lizard Lounge venue after having drinks together.

He said he was in the smoking area of the club when the alleged victim tapped him on the shoulder and began kissing him.

"I was quite surprised but I just went along with it," he said, adding that he was happy and they were "snogging" passionately.

He told how they later ended up at the woman's flat after he was thrown out of the club following an altercation with a group of boys.

"She seemed to be enjoying my company," he told the court, adding that they got undressed in her bedroom and "started having intercourse".

He said that at some point she pulled away and when he asked if she was ok, she nodded.

Shortly after that, he looked down and saw blood, he told the court.

"Then I quickly got off the bed and ceased intercourse and I said something to the effect of 'That's disgusting, I thought you were alright,' Coxen told the court.

"I got dressed and I left the property quite quickly."

He told how he felt "kind of grossed out" after incorrectly thinking the woman was having a period.

Mr O'Rourke asked Coxen how he now feels about the way he reacted at the time, when he was aged 18.

"Immature, stupid," he replied.

"Is that something you regret, then?" the QC asked.

"Yes," he said.

"I obviously apologise for that, (it was) very rude."

The lawyer later continued: "The experience both for you and the pursuer was not a positive one and would have been upsetting, certainly for the pursuer?"

Coxen answered: "Certainly for the pursuer, yes."

During cross-questioning, the court heard that Coxen's position is that no oral sex took place and that the woman has lied about that event.

Simon Di Rollo QC, representing the pursuer, said: "The doctors have accepted her account, saying she was the victim of a life-threatening event. She's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder... She's lied to them as well?"

"Yes," replied Coxen.

"She's maintained throughout that you forced her to have oral sex and you say that's a lie?" said the QC.

"Yes," said Coxen.

"It seems quite an amazing thing to lie about to so many people and for so long," Mr Di Rollo continued.

The witness agreed.

The lawyer suggested the woman's tongue became injured from Coxen grabbing her face and forcing the sex act.

"That's not what happened," the witness responded.

The QC also suggested the reason Coxen left the property abruptly that night was "because she was upset and you had raped her".

"If I was raping her then why would I care if she was upset?" Coxen replied.

The trial continues on Friday, when Sheriff Robert Weir QC is expected to hear closing submissions.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Jane Barlow / PA Wire.