Man denies raping woman at knifepoint and imprisoning her

GV - Ipswich Crown Court

Michael Halford has gone on trial at Ipswich Crown Court

A Suffolk woman was raped at knifepoint by a man who kept her prisoner during an ordeal lasting several hours, it has been alleged.

Michael Halford, who had met the woman on a dating app, allegedly became upset when she didn’t want to have sex with him, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Halford had asked the woman for cash to buy some cocaine but she had refused, Stephen Rose, prosecuting, told the court.

He’d then allegedly walked into the bedroom holding a knife and held it close to her face.

“She was very distressed and pleaded with him not to hold the knife near her face,” Mr Rose said. 

During the next few hours he’d allegedly manhandled her causing bruises on her arm, thigh and chest and a small cut on her ear.

The woman also discovered that all the doors to the house were locked and that Halford had the keys in his pocket, alleged Mr Rose.

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At one stage Halford, of no fixed address, ordered her to take off her clothes while threatening her with the knife and had sex with her.  

They had fallen asleep at around 4am and when the woman woke up at 7am she saw a key in the kitchen door and took the opportunity to run for help to a neighbour’s house.

The court heard that the neighbour described the woman as being  “quivering and hysterical” when she knocked at her door claiming that she’d been raped at knifepoint.

Mr Rose said the alleged victim’s arrival at the neighbour’s house was captured on Ring doorbell footage and she could also be heard sobbing during a call to the police.

Halford, 33, who was living in Haverhill, denied rape, false imprisonment and assaulting her causing her actual bodily harm.

The court heard that following the alleged offences Halford had been aware that the police were looking for him and had gone to a police station voluntarily.

He said he’d met the woman on a dating app and as far as he was concerned they had consensual sex.

He denied threatening her with a knife and said she’d been free to leave the house at any time.

He claimed she had left the house after an argument.

The trial continues.