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Convicted rapist attacked woman after she locked herself out of her home in Maidstone, court hears

A convicted rapist launched another sex attack after he offered to help a woman who had locked herself out of her home, a court heard.

The woman had been drinking in October last year when she saw Nathan Gifford near her Maidstone house.

She and the 50-year-old, who she did not know, climbed over garages to get to the back garden, where she had left a spare key under a stone.

The jury was told Nathan Gifford has a previous rape conviction
The jury was told Nathan Gifford has a previous rape conviction

But after trying it she realised it was for the front door.

They then spotted a bedroom window was open on the first floor and he climbed onto a flat roof and entered – a decision she later described as “absolutely ridiculous”.

He went downstairs and helped the woman in through a kitchen window, a jury at Maidstone Crown Court was told.

“Once inside, before she knew what was happening, she was being attacked by him,” said prosecutor Peter Forbes.

“She described what happened next as ‘a complete blur’.”

Gifford, she said, slipped his hand inside her trousers.

She told him to get off but he persisted. He tried to pull down her trousers as she struggled to pull them back up.

While standing up, he pushed her against the kitchen sink and raped her, it was alleged.

“Once inside, before she knew what was happening, she was being attacked by him...” - Prosecutor Peter Forbes

“She was telling him not to,” said Mr Forbes. “It didn’t last long. When it finished she ran upstairs to her bedroom, telling him to leave. She phoned the police.”

The woman had been troubled, saying she was having “a horrendous time” at work, and made a series of phone calls to the police earlier that afternoon.

She had drunk about two bottles of white wine and was still affected by alcohol when the police arrived.

“She was reluctant to give a full account,” said Mr Forbes. “She was distressed and said she deserved it.

“She thought she was wrong because she was vulnerable and drunk, and she should not allow herself to be like this.”

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

Officers saw a footprint on an ottoman storage box near her bedroom window, but she asked them to leave.

When they went back the next day she was intoxicated again and said she was not making any allegation because she had put herself in that position.

The police were concerned for her safety. She declined a full medical examination.

“Significantly, the police had seized her trousers,” said Mr Forbes. “They were sent for forensic examination. A DNA sample from a male person was recovered from inside the waistband.”

It matched Gifford and two months later, on Christmas Eve, he was arrested.

He said he had been sitting in his car when the woman told him she had lost her keys. He gave her a lift to her house nearby.

Mr Forbes said Gifford gave “an utterly implausible” explanation of what happened inside.

“She thought she was wrong because she was vulnerable and drunk, and she should not allow herself to be like this...” - Prosecutor Peter Forbes

He maintained that while helping her climb through the kitchen window her trousers fell down.

He added he tried to help her pull them up and realised she had no knickers on. His hand was in front of her trousers, he said, and it slipped.

Asked whether he touched her private parts, he replied: “Yes, I possibly did, because I had nothing else to grab hold of.”

He denied having intercourse with the woman.

“The prosecution maintains his account is not credible and he has lied, fearing what forensic evidence might have been available. There is no issue of consent.”

Mr Forbes told jurors: “This defendant does have a previous conviction which the Crown say has a relevance to the issue you will be considering.

“On August 3 2012, he was convicted of rape. The prosecution say this defendant had a propensity to commit rape and his previous conviction provides additional support for the prosecution case.

“You will recall these two were strangers to each other. The fact she alleges rape against a man unknown to her in fact has a previous conviction, the Crown say is significant.

“That will be part of the evidence you must consider and you must weigh up.”

Gifford, of Wrangleden Road, Maidstone, denies rape and assault by penetration.

The trial continues.

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