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Durham student denies rape and sexual assault

The former secretary of Durham University's prestigious Union Society has gone on trial to deny raping one student and sexually assaulting another.

Durham Crown Court Credit: PA

Louis Richardson, 21, from Jersey, is accused of having sex with the woman at his home when she was unable to consent in March 2014, Durham Crown Court has heard.

The next morning he is said to have told her she was "rubbish in bed because she was unresponsive", the jury was told.

Richardson also denies a charge of sexual assault against the woman, relating to an allegation he lifted up her top at a friend's house to expose her bra.

The defendant was also charged with attacking another student at a house party in October 2014.

She had felt ill and went to sleep in an empty bedroom when she awoke to find a man with one hand on her breast and the other over her knickers.

When she pushed him off, Paul Cleasby, prosecuting, said he replied: "If you wanted me to stop you could have asked."

The jury was told she replied: "I was asleep."

She did not know Richardson but remembered his distinctive "posh" accent, the court has heard.

The first complainant went to the police with her allegation and Richardson was arrested.

Richardson told police it was "likely" they had had sex after he had seen her in Klute nightclub and took her back to his home.

He said they had both been drinking but said they were not drunk.

He denied saying she was "rubbish" at sex and accepted during the police interview that would have been cruel, the court heard.

During a second interview regarding the other complainant, Richardson claimed he was comforting the woman in bed, and he had put his hand on her shoulder.

He told police she took hold of his hand and moved it herself to her chest, the jury has heard.

The defendant, of Midvale Road, St Helier, denies one charge of rape and three sexual assaults.

The rape complainant, who cannot be identified, wept as she gave evidence via a videolink, and told the court she liked Richardson because he was "very confident" and "he seemed to be everything that I was not".

She explained she was "very, very intoxicated" when she was in Klute nightclub and recalled seeing Richardson.

The next thing she could remember was waking up at Richardson's flat the next morning.

She told the jury: "I can remember him saying I was really bad in bed because I was unresponsive."

She wept as she added: "(I felt) just completely horrified, like I had done everything wrong."

She explained: "(I had) been too drunk, just got myself into the state and going back with him."

She said initially she tried to laugh it off, and that she had been stupid for thinking of Richardson as someone who would have looked after her when she was drunk.

She told the court that on the way to the party where Richardson allegedly pulled up her top, he had kissed her and made a joke about rape.

"I pushed him away and said I didn't want to do that," she said of his attempted kiss.

"He pushed me against a wall and kissed me and said 'Don't worry darling, it's rape'."

She explained to the jury Richardson meant the kiss was not her responsibility and not her choice.

"He was making a joke about rape," she said. "It is a semi-popular thing that students do."

She considered withdrawing her allegation with the police but then decided to go through with it.

"I didn't want anyone else to go through that," she said.

She said she did not know the second complainant.

The trial continues.

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Second degree for Gabby at Durham University

Sport presenter Gabby Logan has today received an honorary degree from Durham University.

Gabby Logan after receiving an honorary degree at Durham. Credit: North News

Gabby began her journalism career at Metro Radio in Newcastle while studying for a Law degree at Durham University, from where she graduated in 1995.

She joined Sky Sports in 1996 before moving to ITV where her presenting credits include The World Cup, Champions League, Premiership and the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race.

In 2004 she hosted Sport Relief for the BBC before joining the Corporation in 2007.

Gabby Logan was one of three recipients of honorary degrees during a ceremony held at Durham Cathedral today.

All of our honorary degree recipients have made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields. Having studied here they all have an affinity with Durham University and we are delighted to welcome them back.
They are role models for our graduates in terms of what Durham students can achieve with drive, determination and skill."

– Prof Ray Hudson, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Durham University

Durham University scientists' discovery 'may change physics'

A new insight on the universe. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A team of scientists at Durham University believe they have made a significant discovery about dark matter, the most common substance in the universe that is invisible.

Astronomers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, say they might have observed the first hint of dark matter interacting with gravity, having previously thought this was not possible.

Scientists initially thought dark matter could not interact with the universe but this could be proof it can. The discovery could mean a change to physics in the future.

Watch Dr Richard Massey from Durham University below:

REPORT: River Wear safety

Following a rescue operation in the early hours of this morning to save the life of another student who had fallen into the the River Wear, police are saying there is a desperate need to change the drinking culture among students.

Watch Frances Read's report on river safety measures in Durham:

Wear rescue: Durham University thank those who averted a 'possible tragedy'

The 20-year old student was discovered at 1.45am today in the River Wear near Durham Amateur Rowing Club by a passer-by who raised the alarm.

Durham University's Chief Operating Officer, Paulina Lubacz has issued the following statement:

We have been notified of an incident in the early hours of this morning (Friday) involving one of our students at the River Wear in Durham, which was attended by the emergency services. The student is safe.

The University would like to thank the member of the public who raised the alarm and the emergency services for averting a possible tragedy. We are working actively with partner organisations to address river safety.

The University is also contacting all students to notify them about the incident and urging them to take proactive measures to ensure their personal safety.

– Paulina Lubacz
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