Teenage woman was raped on Hastings West Hill after night out, court hears

A teenage woman was raped on the West Hill after a night out in Hastings, a court has heard.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 3:39 pm
Hove Trial Centre

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been on a night out at Whistle Trago, in Hastings’ Old Town on December 14, 2018.

She said she had little memory of her night out due to the consumption of alcohol but remembered waking up on the West Hill area in the early hours of December 15 while she was being raped by a man she did not know.

Luke Smith, 27, a builder of no fixed address, denies two counts of rape, claiming the intercourse was consensual.

At Hove Crown Court on Monday (June 3) for the first day of the trial, the jury heard from Philip Bennetts QC, who said it was the prosecution’s case that Mr Smith raped the teenager.

He said: “The complainant had been out for the night on December 14 in Hastings.

“She had been with friends. She had a good night but unfortunately she had too much to drink. By midnight she was very drunk – obviously drunk. Her friends could not persuade her to take a taxi home and, in that state, she wondered off.

“In that state, she met this defendant. And in that state, he had intercourse with her. She has no recollection of meeting him. What she does remember is being raped by him on the West Hill by Hastings.

“She told him to stop. He did not. She was hit by him. She managed to make her way home and she reported what had happened to her. Police examined the scene. Scientific evidence linked this defendant with the complainant.”

Mr Bennetts told the jury that Mr Smith was seen in the Carlisle pub, in Pelham Street, Hastings, from 7.31pm on December 14 until he left at 1.05am on December 15.

When he was arrested in the days that followed, according to Mr Bennetts, the defendant claimed he had not had sex with anyone on the night of December 14 or early hours of December 15 and that he got home at about 2am.

However, in April this year, Mr Smith changed his account and said he had sexual intercourse with the complainant but that it was consensual, the court heard.

The jury was also played video footage of the complainant’s interview with police from three days after the alleged incident.

In it, the complainant, who had cuts to her face and complained of cuts to her leg, told police she remembered being hit in the face and told to shut up while the defendant raped her.

She said she woke up ‘really, really cold’ and managed to make her escape when the defendant went to retrieve his phone.

Once home, the complainant alerted a housemate who called the police, the court heard.

Taking the stand on Monday, the complainant said she could not remember anything after leaving the Whistle Trago around midnight on December 14 until waking up on the West Hill in the early hours of December 15.

Lewis Power QC, defending asked the complainant whether she remembered asking the defendant if he wanted to have sex with her.

She replied: “No.”

The trial continues.