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Home   Medway   News   Article

Grove Park woman Joanne Berry 'plotted Medway colleague's rape in role-playing sex game by tricking men' on websites including Cougar Shag, court told

07 May 2014
by Julia Roberts
An "obsessional and attention-seeking" woman arranged via sex chatrooms for strangers to rape a former colleague, a court heard.
 
Joanne Berry is alleged to have posed on websites, including one called Cougar Shag, and told how she liked role-play and wanted to create "some sort of rape scenario".
 
But having told one man to knock at her door and "burst in", the 30-year-old is said to have given him the home address in Medway of the female acquaintance.
Administrator Joanne Berry is accused of plotting to get a colleague 'raped'. Picture Jim Bennett

Administrator Joanne Berry is accused of plotting to get a colleague 'raped'. Picture: Jim Bennett

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, only discovered what was happening when the man arrived on her doorstep.
 
However, a jury at Maidstone Crown Court was told the "rape" was not carried out and the man later wrote a letter of apology to the victim, stating he had been "set up by a very deranged person".
 
Having been told the police were being called, he then waited in his car for officers to arrive and gave them a statement.
 
Berry, of Marvels Lane, Grove Park, south east London, was arrested. Her home computer contained conversations with several men that were said to describe violent rape fantasies.
 
One of the conversations found on Berry's computer, which included the victim's address, said: "Grab me by the neck and really scare and intimidate me.....Interested? Then you basically have free rein."
 
The temporary administrator denies putting a person in fear of violence between April and June 2012 in that she arranged for men to attend the woman's address to assault her and commit forceful sexual acts on her without consent.
 
Berry also denies committing an offence, namely assault, with intent to commit a sexual offence on April 29, 2012, a charge of common assault on the same occasion and attempting to cause a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent in April 2012.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

The case is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Prosecutor Andrew Espley told the jury at the start of the trial the evidence was "overwhelming".
 
He said: "Joanne Berry arranged for men to go around to the woman's house and rape her. Luckily that did not happen.
 
"She went on various sex chat websites, pretending to be the victim, gave her address, used her name, gave the registration of her car which was going to be parked outside, and told men to come around to engage in a fantasy rape game with her, basically to rape her.
 
"One woman arranging for another woman to be raped."
 
The court heard Berry had confided in the woman in March 2012 that she herself had been raped, although Mr Espley told the court this, together with all Berry's "problems", were "imaginary and never, ever happened".
 
However, Berry was then said to have become "slightly obsessed", sending the former colleague numerous texts a day.
"He said he had been chatting online to someone he believed was her and that she wanted him to go to the house and carry out a fantasy rape by knocking at the door and pushing his way in..." - prosecutor Andrew Espley
 
A text in which Berry threatened suicide was reported to police by the woman, but Mr Espley said this was again part of Berry's "attention-seeking behaviour".
 
The woman later texted Berry to say she needed professional help and that she (Berry) was making her (the victim) "angry and frightened".
 
The court heard that two weeks later, the woman started to receive text messages from men she did not know, including: "What's going on?", "Why aren't you in?" and "Why can't I have a fantasy rape with you?"
 
On Saturday, April 28, a man called at her home, asking for her by name and claiming to have been talking to her all day online.
 
When told he had the wrong address, he replied: "This is a f***ing wind-up." Messages were also being left on her home telephone, including: "I'm getting bored of this. Now you are playing games."
 
The following morning, the victim opened her door to a man knocking loudly. She did not know him, but he asked for her by name.
 
"When she said she was (victim's name) he tried to push his way into the house," said Mr Espley.
 
"She called for help and the man stopped and said: 'Is this a wind-up?' He must have noticed how frightened she was.
 
"He said he had been chatting online to someone he believed was her and that she wanted him to go to the house and carry out a fantasy rape by knocking at the door and pushing his way in."
'Attention-seeking' Joanne Berry is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court

'Attention-seeking' Joanne Berry is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court

The man then told the shocked woman that once he had carried out the rape he was to try and get information about Joanne Berry.
 
"He used that name," added Mr Espley.
 
The man also referred to a password he had been given of "feather" and the woman later connected this to a conversation she had had with Berry in relation to her grandparents.
 
The prosecution allege the woman he was chatting to online was Berry and that conversations of a similar nature with a number of different men were later found on her computer.
 
"Quite a lot of men are invited around to the victim's house to rape her," said Mr Espley.
 
"One was plainly irritated because he said he had driven 50 miles only to find it was not the right house."
 
Berry was arrested, but denied the allegations. She also denied knowing where her former colleague lived.
 
The trial is expected to end this week.
 

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