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Home   Medway   News   Article

'Obsessional' Joanne Berry denies organising rape of colleague at Medway home after visiting sex websites such as Cougar Shag

13 May 2014
by Julia Roberts
An "obsessional and attention-seeking" woman has denied becoming fixated with a female colleague and arranging for strange men to violently rape her in her home.
 
Joanne Berry told a jury at Maidstone Crown Court that if she had been obsessed with the woman as it was suggested, she "would not want to hurt her".
 
Berry, 30, is alleged to have posed on sex websites such as Cougar Shag and Married Affair and described how she liked role-play and wanted to create a rape scenario.
 
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

 
But, having told one man with whom she engaged in online chat to knock at her door and "burst in", the court heard Berry gave him the home address in Medway of her colleague.
 
The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, only discovered what was happening when the man arrived on her doorstep.
 
However, 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 which 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."
 
Another instruction included the "rapist" having to tell the victim that she had been "supporting Jo".
 
The prosecution allege that this was in reference to the woman being concerned about Berry needing professional help after she threatened suicide in a text.
 
Giving evidence to the jury, Berry denied being responsible for procuring men to visit the woman's home to carry out the "fantasy" rapes.
 
She also claimed not to have known the victim's address.
 
But in a bizarre exchange with prosecutor Andrew Espley during cross-examination, Berry sensationally suggested that it was possible her mum, who was sitting just yards away in the public gallery, or her dad could be to blame for some of the chatlogs, in particular the reference to the victim being supportive.
 
"My mum knew she was supporting me, although she didn't know why," said Berry, to which Mr Espley replied: "Did your mum put this here? Are you raising as a serious possibility your mum, sitting there, might have put this on your computer?"
 
Berry responded: "Well, she may have. And my dad in the same sense because if mum knew (of victim's support), my dad knew."
 
'Attention-seeking' Joanne Berry is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court

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

 
Mr Espley later asked whether her parents had any reason to want their daughter's former colleague to be violently raped, to which Berry replied: "No, but did I?"
 
"That's what I ask," retorted Mr Espley. "You became fixated and obsessed with her."
 
Berry replied: "If I was obsessed with her I wouldn't want to hurt her."
 
Earlier she told the court that both her parents had access to her laptop.
 
Asked how the messages came to be on it, she said: "That's the whole point. I don't know because if I knew, the person who did this would be standing here instead of me."
 
When accused by Mr Espley of having "no explanation whatsoever other than bare denial," Berry replied: "That's because that is my defence. I didn't do it. What else am I supposed to say?"
 
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.
 
It is alleged that Berry gave out the victim's personal details, including name, address and car registration number, during her online chats and told men to engage in a fantasy rape game with her.
 
"One woman arranging for another woman to be raped," said Mr Espley.
 
The trial is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court

The trial is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court

 
As well as men turning up at her home, messages were also left on the victim's home telephone.
 
Berry could not explain to the court how the man who burst into the victim's home knew both her address and Berry's name.
 
"I didn't know him at all," she said.
 
"The first time I had ever met him was in this courtroom. I don't know why he has mentioned the name of Jo. I don't know where he has got that information from."
 
Furthermore, Berry denied visiting sex chatrooms, saying she found the idea "disgusting", or having associated phone apps.
 
"How anyone would want to go around and do something like that is beyond me" - Joanne Berry
"How anyone would want to go around and do something like that is beyond me," she said.
 
"As a normal person, if I received some message saying please go around to someone's house and perform this sort of thing I would be asking myself why.
 
"Why would anyone want that in the first place? Even now, the idea of having an app like that on my phone disgusts me."
 
Her counsel, James Manning, asked her who was responsible for the messages, to which she replied: "I wish I could tell you. I would like to be able to tell you who did it so they could be arrested and stopped from doing this again.
 
"I hope that one day the police will find the culprit."
 
The trial continues.


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