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Terror of Medway woman 'targeted in fantasy rape plot by colleague Joanne Berry' from Grove Park, court told

By Sian Napier

A woman has told of the moment she came face-to-face with a stranger on her doorstep who pushed his way into her home and told her he had come to carry out a fantasy rape.

She was giving evidence at the trial of "obsessional and attention-seeking" Joanne Berry, who is alleged to have arranged on chatrooms for her colleague to be raped at her Medway home.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said it was about 9.15am on a Sunday in May 2012 when her phone rang.

Administrator Joanne Berry. Picture: Jim Bennett
Administrator Joanne Berry. Picture: Jim Bennett

"A male voice, which I did not recognise, said 'I thought you didn't want to talk,'" the woman told Maidstone Crown Court.

"I told him I thought he had the wrong number and hung up. As I got downstairs there was a bang at my front door and when I opened it there was a man there I didn't recognise. He pushed the door open with force.

"My hand was on the door and I was absolutely petrified. I did not know what was going on. I screamed for help and the man looked startled and said 'Is this a wind-up' because he thought he had been talking to me.

"He said he had been chatting to someone on the internet and thought that was me. This person wanted him to come to my property and carry out a fantasy rape.

"I was shocked. I was petrified. I did not know what was going on. He said that once had had carried out the rape he was to get information about Joanne Berry from me. He said he was told to get a password which was feathers.

"I had told Berry that whenever I saw a white feather I thought of my grandparents. The man told me to call the police and report the incident."

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Berry, of Marvels Lane, Grove Park, south east London, is alleged to have posted on sex chatrooms 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 of the female acquaintance.

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 woman told the jury Berry had come to work as a temp in her office in February 2012.
Just after March 3, Berry, the victim and another colleague were working late.

"As I got downstairs there was a bang at my front door and when I opened it there was a man there I didn't recognise. He pushed the door open with force..." - woman giving evidence at Joanne Berry's trial

The victim said Berry was quiet and withdrawn and, when asked if everything was OK, said she had been raped by two men on March 3.

"I was concerned about her and encouraged her to go to the police," the victim said. Soon afterwards, she began receiving texts from Berry, who said the victim reminded her of her dead sister.

"At first I did not take any interest, but as time went on I became uncomfortable because I started to feel she was substituting me for her sister," the victim told the court.

Some days she would receive eight to 12 texts a day from Berry, including one on April 13, 2012 in which Berry said she was going to join her sister.

"I took this to mean that she was going to kill herself," the victim said. "I was very angry that she had put me in this position. I said to her that she needed professional help and I was going to stand back from her.

"Later I thought she did not intend to kill herself and was seeking attention."

In April, Berry was sent home from work and the temp agency informed. "I think she blamed me for that," the victim said.

The victim said she told Berry she did not want to hear from her again, but despite this Berry carried on texting her and had a card, box of chocolates and £5 note delivered to her office.

"I wanted nothing to do with it and asked the person who brought it up to take it away," the victim said.

Soon afterwards, the incident at her home with the man happened. The victim received more texts from Berry which she did not reply to as the police had told her not to. These included texts from Berry, who is said to have revealed she knew about the man calling at her house.

"I have no idea how she knew what had happened," the victim said.

From early May 2012, she started receiving texts from an unknown number, purporting to be from a man who told her that he had got away with various rapes.

"I think these were from Berry as the style of the texts was the same," the victim said. "I took them to the police."

On May 23, the victim arrived home from work to find a man on her drive. "He asked if I was (name). I told him to get away from me. He said he did not want to hurt me, but had been talking on a chat line and believed he had been talking to me.

"I absolutely panicked, got indoors and phoned the police. I thought he had it in mind to rape me."

The trial continues.

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