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Ipswich: Alleged victim gives evidence in Stephen Benson trial

14:41 27 February 2013

Stephen Benson

Stephen Benson

A WOMAN who claims she was raped by her athletics coach when she was a teenager told a court that he had sex with her after a training session.

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Giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Stephen Benson who has denied a string of sex offences against three schoolgirls over a period of 20 years, the woman claimed that she and Benson had gone back to his home after going out for a run together and he had suggested they had sex.

The woman has claimed that Benson started having sex with her when she was 15 and alleged it took place on between six and eight occasions without her consent.

She said after one training session when she was aged 16 she had not wanted to have sex with Benson and had become very quiet and upset.

But she accepted she had not actually said “no” to him. “I didn’t say it in words but when he tried to speak to me I didn’t speak to him,” said the woman.

She described how they had gone upstairs and had sex in his double bed but said she could not remember how they came to be undressed.

She claimed that afterwards she had cried and he had gone downstairs.

Asked by defence counsel Naomi Perry why she had not asked Benson to take her home if she was unhappy with what was taking place she replied: “I wasn’t a strong person at that point. My parents did everything for me. I wasn’t confident enough and I was scared.”

The woman told the court that after having sex she and Benson had driven to a pub but there had been an argument because she felt uncomfortable with him holding her hand and putting his arm round her.

She accepted that when she told Benson she did not want to stay at the pub he had agreed to leave and they had returned to his house where she had spent the night in his bed.

She told the court that Benson had taken her home the next day and she had hidden a friction mark on her chin, caused by Benson kissing her, with make-up before going to a family party.

The witness denied a suggestion from Mrs Perry that her parents had known about her relationship with Benson and had been happy about it.

Benson, 50, who was a coach with Ipswich Harriers and also taught PE at Copleston High School in Ipswich has denied 11 offences of rape, six offences of indecent assault, two offences of sexual activity with a child and two offences of sexual assault.

Riel Karmy-Jones, prosecuting, claimed that over a period of 20 years from the 1980s Benson abused his position and groomed a series of girls for his “own benefit and sexual gratification”.

The girls were in their mid-teens when the alleged abuse started and they had not complained to anyone about what was happening because they were either too embarrassed or didn’t think anyone would believe them, Miss Karmy-Jones said.

She accused Benson of “worming” his way into their lives and “stealing the last part of their childhoods” by drawing them into sexual relationships with him.

She claimed the girls had submitted to his demands until they were old enough to know better and managed to break away.

The court heard that after his arrest Benson denied the allegations.

The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, continues

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