Man who raped and controlled sex worker for financial gain by forcing her to work on Leeds' streets thought he was 'bullet proof', jury told

A man who raped a sex worker and controlled her for prostitution by forcing her to work on the streets of Leeds thought he was 'bullet proof', a jury heard.

By Tony Gardner
Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 11:45 am

Anthony Blackman is alleged to have used violence and threats against the woman to force her to sell sex in order to fund his addiction to drugs.

A jury heard the alleged victim was abused for years before finding the courage to tell a police community support worker after Blackman subjected her to a sex attack.

Blackman, 53, of Reginald Terrace, Potternewton, is on trial at Leeds Crown Court where he denies charges of rape, controlling or coercive behaviour and controlling prostitution for gain.

Leeds Crown Court

Richard Woolfall, prosecuting, said it is the Crown's case that the woman was vulnerable.

He said: "She was vulnerable by virtue of her addiction to class A drugs.

"In addition she was much smaller than the defendant and the defendant was increasingly violent and aggressive towards her.

"Over time he groomed her and became increasingly controlling of what she did.

"Because of his behaviour she became isolated from her friends and family and she had to work hard as a prostitute to fund his addiction "

The prosecutor said the woman was exploited over a number of years but was too afraid to report Blackman.

He continued: "She did not think that anyone would listen to her because she was a prostitute. Even if they did listen to her, who would believe anything?"

The court heard the woman made a number of attempts to get away.

On one occasion she managed to get away from him but he found her.

On a further occasion she reported him to the police but later went back and withdrew the allegation.

Mr Woolfall said: "The cycle of abuse continued. There is an element, the Crown say, of him feeling bullet proof because she came back."

The court heard the woman finally reported Blackman after a police community support worker gained her trust.when he treated her "like a human being."

Mr Woolfall said: "She was able to speak to the officer. It was a slow process but she was able to speak freely to him

"She reported him for the violence but then felt able to speak up about the rape. Since that time she has been able to get away from him and his influence.

"She has had support and has been able to speak out about what he has done to her."

Mr Woolfall said Blackman denies any wrongdoing.

He said the defendant claims.it was the woman's "free choice" to be a sex worker and denied controlling her.

Blackman also denies rape, claiming he did not have sex with her on the the occasion alleged.

The prosecutor added: "A prostitute has a right to choose who she has sex with and who she does not have.

"She is entitled to the protection of the criminal law, just as much as anybody else. She is more than entitled to say no. That is entirely her right."

The trial continues.