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Ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist Ben Leapman - formerly of Eynsford - denies violent sex chatroom talks

An award-winning journalist accused of rape has claimed late night conversations with strangers in chatrooms about violent sex was not something he would want to do in real life.

In one conversation Ben Leapman admitted telling another man he liked rape.

“I should not have said it,” he told a jury. “That is what he wanted to talk about. I said it to continue the conversation. I said I did (like rape) to get the conversation going.”

Ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist Ben Leapman was convicted of rape. Picture: Mike Gunnill

Maidstone Crown Court has heard Leapman, who helped expose the scandal of MPs fiddling their expenses, was accused of raping a woman after unconnected “illegal material” was found on his laptop computer.

The former deputy news editor of the Sunday Telegraph, later admitted charges in relation to the material and was in May last year sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for a year.

Leapman, formerly of High Street, Eynsford, near Dartford, pleads not guilty to three specimen charges of rape.

The 43-year-old denied a suggestion by prosecutor Eleanor Laws QC that the chat logs had everything to do with what happened with the alleged victim.

“It was a made-up scenario,” he said in evidence.

“It was a conversation with a stranger about a made-up scenario. It was just invented. On all of these conversations I adopted a persona. It was a fictional scenario.”

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Asked about discussing how he would like to beat up a woman and commit other depraved acts, he said: “There is no excuse for saying those awful things. It is not something I would do in my normal life.

“The conversation went in that way. They are not things I would like to do in reality.

"I enjoyed writing about them. I would never do it. I guess at the time I must have been enjoying the conversations.”

Leapman, now of South Lambeth, south west London, said of the rape allegations: “I have never been forceful in any way. I am a very gentle person.”

The trial continues.

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