Brothel prostitute ‘felt like murderer’

SMOKE BREAK: James Graham outside court.

SMOKE BREAK: James Graham outside court.

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A man on trial accused of running a brothel in Leeds told a jury had been made to feel like a murderer.

James Graham, 32, told Leeds Crown Court he had worked at the premises on York Road as a male prostitute but denied he had made money from female sex workers based there.

During cross-examination from prosecutor Michael Greenhalgh, Graham said: “For two years I have been made to feel like a child molester or a murderer.”

Graham, of Manor House Croft, Tinshill, denies managing a brothel for prostitution.

A jury has been shown “covert footage” of a female police officer meeting Graham at the premises at Shaftsbury Parade, in January 2010, in which arrangements were made for her to work as a prostitute.

A week earlier, two male officers had visited the premises and a woman was paid £40 to have sex with one of them before he “made his excuses and left”.

Asked by his barrister, Andrew Haslam, what he did for a living, Graham replied: “I sell my body as an escort. I have clients come around and I have sex for money. It’s not fantastic but that’s what I do.”

Graham claimed the woman he was seen speaking to on camera was not a police officer.

He said: “No undercover officer could ever, ever look like that. She was so emaciated, so ill.” He added: “She was just a crack head. It was just obvious.”

Graham denied making money from women who worked there and said those who did contributed towards renting the premises.

Asked about the conversation with the woman, he said: “I said ‘yes’, it was OK that she came. I did not think I was doing anything wrong.

“It’s only what I do. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s not illegal what I do,

“I even said to her ‘don’t be nervous, you can call the police if you think anything is untoward.’”

During cross-examination, Graham denied that the premises was a brothel but instead was a safe place for escorts to work rather than having to go on to the streets.

He added: “Just because it’s prostitution doesn’t mean that I am a pimp. It doesn’t mean that it’s a brothel and it doesn’t mean we are all on crack.”

Proceeding

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