Leeds United rape trial: ‘Victim felt manipulated into believing she was wrong’

Simon Lenighan arriving at Doncaster Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Simon Lenighan arriving at Doncaster Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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THE alleged rape victim of a Leeds United footballer said she was manipulated into believing she had “got the wrong end of the stick” and should drop the case.

Simon Lenighan, 19, is alleged to have carried out the attack with Nathan Campbell, 24, in a room at the Etap Hotel in Leeds in August 2012, filming the victim on their mobile phones.

The jury heard on Tuesday that Lenighan and Campbell had met for the first time on the night of the alleged incident as they drank in the Tiger Tiger bar in Leeds.

The woman, who knew Lenighan, had also been drinking in the bar and agreed to go back to the hotel, now an Ibis, with the two men. She was described by a friend as being “very drunk”.

Following the alleged attack, she was woken up by a chambermaid as she lay naked in the bed, with no idea how she got there. She immediately realised her money and phone had been robbed.

In her video evidence today the woman explained that after leaving the hotel she went to the police then to her parents and then spoke to Lenighan about what had happened.

Doncaster Crown Court heard that when she talked to Lenighan on the evening of 29 August, he told her that they had started to have sex but she was too drunk and it stopped.

The woman said: “I agreed with him that everything was fine. I was embarrassed.”

She began to think she had “got the wrong end of the stick”.

The court heard the woman said she would tell police that she had consented to have sex with Lenighan.

Following their the woman decided to proceed with the investigation to find out what had happened with the other man in the room.

The court heard Lenighan was later arrested by police, but he was under the impression it was just part of the investigation into Campbell.

After the Leeds United player was arrested Campbell messaged the woman on Facebook saying: “Are you serious?”

She said, in evidence: “That immediately set the seed in my head thinking, Oh God what have I done? I’ve blatantly got the wrong end of the stick here. I felt, Oh God, I’m in the wrong.

“I thought I’m OK, but are these people’s lives going to be ok? I thought I need to get it sorted, I need to stop this.”

The court heard she said she told the police to drop the case but had yet to sign the paperwork to finalise it, it was during this time Campbell was arrested.

The court heard after he was arrested the woman arranged to meet up with him to explain that she was trying to get the case dropped but it just hadn’t been finalised.

Following the meeting Campbell began to text the woman asking her when he would get his mobile phone back off the police.

She tried to assure him that she was dropping the case, but he continued to demand his belongings back and became hostile.

The woman was then visited by police who told her about the video footage they had found on Campbell’s phone.

She said: “I was expecting them to give me my clothes back. Done. Sorted.

“He started saying they had a video. It was a shock. It felt like I had been hit by a bus.”

Speaking yesterday, Andrew Haslam, prosecuting, told the court: “We say that Nathan Campbell and Simon Lenighan raped her.

“We have a window in to that hotel room. That window shows how the defendants treated and continued to treat her.”

Mr. Haslam said the two defendants both used their mobile phones to video the woman and were heard laughing as they avoided being seen on the camera.

The jury saw footage which showed the woman lying naked on a bed and intimate shots of her body.

Lenighan, of Harrogate, denies three charges of rape and one of perverting the course of justice.

Campbell, of Bradford, denies three charges of rape and one of perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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