Oxford University student 'said this is really awkward’ after alleged rape

An Oxford University medical student said ‘Oh, no, this is really awkward’, moments after he raped a female student following a college night out, a jury heard today.

Oxford Crown Court saw a video interview with the woman who accused fellow student Niall McPaul of raping her.

The young victim told the jury she had woken up to find McPaul on top of her, raping her, while she stood behind a screen, out of sight of the accused.

She described herself as ‘eight or nine’ out of 10 in terms of drunkenness, having had a bottle and a half of wine, and told police that McPaul had sat on the side of her bed following the incident and said: ‘This is one of those unfortunate things that happens.’

The jury was told by the prosecutor that McPaul had later texted the woman to describe his behaviour as ‘inexcusable really’ and that she had told him they were not going to have sex.

Opening the case, prosecutor Matthew Walsh said: ‘(McPaul) was on top of her and she came-to in a confused state.

‘In fact as you will hear in this case, there is no argument between the prosecution and defence about one thing – that the defendant had penetrated her vagina with his penis.

‘That had taken place, he accepts that.’

He continued: ‘What is at issue is firstly whether she was consenting to that, agreeing to it taking place, and if she was not consenting, whether the defendant reasonably believed that she was.’

McPaul, who was 24 at the time of the incident, had met the victim through friends at a party in 2016, five months before the alleged rape.

She told officers that she again met the accused at another party in 2017, when they kissed and exchanged messages after McPaul had left to go home, the court heard.

She said: ‘It was just something stupid that I did. I was not going to do it again. My boyfriend was aware of it.

‘He is a very easy going person, he was not particularly angry or upset but he was just like: “do not do that again”.’

On the morning of the alleged rape later in 2017, the victim had allowed McPaul to stay over, after a party, and they shared a bed and cuddled.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘It was late and probably quite cold outside and he lives a long way away. I had no reason not to let him in.

‘Although on some level I must have wanted that [sex with him], I do not think I would have, even when I have been very drunk I do not think I would have.

‘I went to sleep saying, “I am not going to have sex with you”.’

Defence lawyer Eleanor Laws, representing McPaul, suggested the victim had engaged in consensual kissing and sexual touching while they were in bed together, before she had gone to sleep and after she had woken up.

The lawyer asked: ‘Do you remember saying that what went on between you and McPaul in the morning, from you waking up with him inside you, was in fact pleasurable?’

The complainant answered: ‘For a brief moment, before I realised what was going on.’

In her police interview, the complainant said she had made a public Facebook post following the incident in which she wrote: ‘Because of recent circumstances he [her boyfriend] would be disappointed in me.’

McPaul, now aged 27 and living in Oxford, denies one count of rape.

The trial continues.

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