Oxford University student ‘raped young woman then said ‘this is really awkward”

An Oxford University student said “oh, no, this is really awkward" moments after he raped a female student following a night out, a court has heard.

Niall McPaul, 24, had stayed the night with the young woman after a party in 2017.

The woman said they shared a bed in which they cuddled.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, she told the jury she woke up to find McPaul on top of her, raping her.

She said she had been “eight or nine” out of ten in terms of being drunk – having had a bottle-and-a-half of wine.

The woman told cops that medical student McPaul sat on the side of her bed after the alleged rape.

She said: “He was saying something like, ‘Oh no. This is really awkward’.”

The jury was told by the prosecutor that McPaul had later texted the woman to describe what had happened earlier as "inexcusable really."

McPaul, aged 24 at the time of the incident, had met the victim through friends at a US election party which students studying at the University of Oxford had thrown, the court heard.

In her video interview, she told police how the pair had stayed up all night to watch events unfold online during the election on November 8 2016, when Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in a shock upset.

Although she had told friends she thought he was "attractive”, the jury of seven men and five women were told she had decided he was "off-limits" under the terms of her open relationship with her boyfriend.

Explaining the open relationship to police, the woman said: "I was in an open relationship with my then boyfriend and we were not supposed to be involved with people in each other's social circles.

"He was away and we thought that would be a good opportunity to explore dating and sleeping with other people because we both wanted a bit more experience.

"My boyfriend at the time time knew him (McPaul), so he was off limits."

Despite this, she told officers how the two had met at another party in February 2017 when they had kissed and had exchanged some messages over Facebook messenger after McPaul had left to go home, the court heard.

She said: "It was not a massive issue. It was just something stupid that I did. I was not going to do it again. My boyfriend was aware of it. He is a very easy going person, he was not particularly angry or upset but he was just like, 'do not do that again'."

On the morning of the alleged rape – April 22, 2017 – the complainant had allowed McPaul to stay over after a party the previous evening and they had shared a bed in which they had cuddled.

The woman said: "It was late and probably quite cold outside and he lives a long way away. I had no reason not to let him in.

"Although on some level I must have wanted that (sex with him), I do not think I would have, even when I have been very drunk I do not think I would have.

"I went to sleep saying, 'I am not going to have sex with you'."

Eleanor Laws, representing McPaul, suggested the victim had engaged in consensual kissing and sexual touching while they were in bed together before she had gone to sleep and after she had woken up.

McPaul, now aged 27 and from Oxford, denies one count of rape.

The trial continues.

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