‘I’m no rapist,’ man tells court

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A St Helens man accused of raping a woman he picked up while cruising the streets purporting to be a taxi driver has denied the allegations.

It is alleged that after driving her to a secluded location Lee Watson climbed into the back of his car and raped the woman, who was vulnerable as she was very drunk.

But 28-year-old Watson, of Rivington Street, St Helens, yesterday denied he had been posing as a taxi driver looking for a potential victim and told a jury that she had initiated their sexual encounter.

He agreed that he had sex with the 40-year-old but said that it had been consensual and disputed an allegation that she had been too drunk to consent to sex.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the woman was walking home alone after a row with her partner and his friend in Wigan town centre on Friday, December 4 last year.

While on Ormskirk Road she made phone calls to her step-daughter arranging to meet her at a takeaway restaurant in Orrell and in the last call she said she was en route in a taxi, said Frank Dillon, prosecuting.

She told how he had driven up behind her and asked if she needed a taxi.

After stopping in a secluded spot he quickly climbed from the front to the rear of the vehicle and got on top of her and raped her, she alleged.

Watson told the jury of seven women and five men that he had been driving around the town centre looking for a “car show” involving “boy racers” with high performance vehicles meeting to show them off, which he himself did.

He could not find it and was on his way to pick his wife up from her work’s night out in Liverpool when he noticed the woman stumble as she walked along and stopped to see if she was all right.

She climbed into the back seat and after telling him she had had a row with her fiancee she reached forward and began stroking the back of his head and his arm. “She said she felt horny. At first I told her to sit back and put her belt on, at this point I wasn’t interested,” he said. “She asked if I was horny and if I was willing to go somewhere more private and I agreed.”

He said he took her to a quiet location he knew behind he TSB and she got into the front of his car and sat astride him and they had sex.

Questioned by his barrister Joseph Hart he said that afterwards he heard her on her phone to her step-daughter saying she was in a taxi and when he dropped her off her step-daughter asked how much she owed.

He admitted that he had not said he was not a taxi and he agreed his behaviour that night had been reprehensible. He also agreed that the next day he had “bragged” at work about having sex with a drunken woman he had picked up.

Cross-examined by Frank Dillon, prosecuting, Watson, admitted he had been unable to provide evidence that there had been a “car meet” in the town that night.