Ipswich: Duo in Benson case acted like ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’, court told

Stephen Benson leaving Ipswich Crown Court.

Stephen Benson leaving Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

THE SISTER of a woman who claims she was raped as a teenager by Ipswich Harriers coach Stephen Benson has told a court that they appeared to have a “boyfriend and girlfriend” relationship.

Giving evidence during the second week of 50-year-old Benson’s trial at Ipswich Crown Court the witness claimed that Benson had taken her sister out to the cinema and for meals and had given her gifts. “I saw it as a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. That’s how it seemed to me,” she said.

She said that Benson had been quite a bit older than her sister and the relationship had struck her as “a little odd”.

Cross-examined by Benson’s barrister Naomi Perry, the witness denied a suggestion that the relationship between Benson and her sister hadn’t started until she was 16.

“I would have thought it started earlier. It was an assumption I made on the nature of their relationship,” she said.

She claimed that after coming back to the family home after some training sessions Benson had gone up to her sister’s bedroom and had stayed in there for up to 30 minutes. She said she thought that the bedroom door had been closed during these visits.

Giving evidence earlier this week the alleged victim, who claims Benson raped and sexually assaulted her between the ages of 15 and 18, told the court that after some training sessions he would stay and have supper with her family and had started coming up to her room to chat with her about training and races.

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She alleged that during these visits Benson had given her gifts and had forced her to perform sex acts on him.

Benson, 50, of Pearsons Way, Copdock, who taught PE at Copleston High School in Ipswich as well as being a coach with Ipswich Harriers, 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, has claimed that Benson abused his position and had raped and sexually abused three teenagers.

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

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