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Katie Price praises stepfather but stays away from court to avoid 'media circus'

Published 29/11/2016

Katie Price said she regards stepfather Paul Price as 'my dad'
Katie Price said she regards stepfather Paul Price as 'my dad'

Model Katie Price spoke of her love for her stepfather amid allegations he twice raped a woman following a group night out in a seaside resort, a court has heard.

The television personality described Paul Price, 53, as a "loving" and "fun" person who despite not being her biological father she regards as "my dad".

Her feelings for her father were read in a statement to Chichester Crown Court in West Sussex, where Price denies two counts of rape.

In the statement, read in her absence by defence counsel Abigail Penny, Ms Price said: "My dad Paul Price has always been so loving and such a fun person to be around.

"He is always supportive in all situations and always puts us family first.

"Although he is not my biological dad, he took me and my brother on from a young age and I regard him as my dad.

"I know he is there for me for everything. In fact you can't keep people away - he is a people person."

Ms Price, 38, also told how Price was "amazing" with his grandchildren, including her son Harvey, who has disabilities.

Her statement went on: "I want to come to court to support my dad but because of the media interest it's best I don't attend as I don't want a media circus."

Her statement was read after Price's 27-year-old daughter Sophie Price broke down in tears as she defended her father, describing him as "fun" and "nice".

Asked by Ms Penny how she feels about her father in light of the rape allegations, she told the court: "The same, fine, normal. I don't look at him any differently.

"I love my dad."

Price, a fence erector, is alleged to have twice raped a woman following a group night out in Worthing on March 21 last year.

Prosecutors claim he raped the alleged victim first after following her out of a taxi when she complained of feeling sick en route to his home.

It is then alleged a second rape occurred in woodland after the pair got back into a taxi and got dropped off near Price's home in North Drive, Angmering. He said on both occasions he could not get an erection.

The woman has said she feared Price was going to kill her as he had his hands round her throat, telling jurors: "The ferocity with which he grabbed me was shocking."

In his defence, Price said she consented to sex, that she never resisted or told him to stop and that she returned with him to his house following the alleged attacks where she and her husband were staying that night.

Price told jurors they had been laughing and joking after getting out of the taxi, then started to cuddle, kiss and hold hands before she told him: "I haven't had sex for a year."

Summing up, prosecutor Gabrielle Henty said the alleged victim was in "an impossible position" and was "terrified" about what Price would do if she did not submit to him.

Ms Henty addressed the jury on evidence that the complainant returned to Price's home following the alleged rapes by him.

She told jurors: "Her fear is the key to understanding her behaviour. She was alone, she couldn't get anyone on the phone and she was desperate to get back to (Price's) house where her husband was."

She went on: "A state of panic, a state of trauma can have a strange effect on people. They can do things that in the cold light of day is an illogical thing."

Ms Henty said Price "knew full well what he wanted and what he was doing" and that he used force to sexually attack her.

She said: "Perhaps the reality of the situation was that his inhibitions were lost and he simply ignored the feelings and wishes of (the alleged victim) who at that particular moment in time was the object of his attentions."

Ms Henty spoke of suggestions that the alleged victim had "commercial" reasons for bringing the rape claims, and pointed to evidence that she was initially reluctant to report the incident to police in case it harmed her livelihood.

"She is right when she tells you that she did not consent to what went on," Ms Henty told jurors.

In her closing speech, defence counsel Abigail Penny questioned why the woman got into a taxi with Price after he allegedly raped her.

And she queried why the complainant did not ask the taxi driver to call the police to tell them she had been attacked.

Ms Penny pointed to claims made by the alleged victim that Price was a sex addict, a claim that was ruled out by his GP in a letter to the court.

And Ms Penny said "another proven lie" by the complainant was to a doctor when he questioned her about her alcohol consumption on the night of the alleged rapes.

She told the doctor that she had drunk two vodkas when "even on her own account" she had drunk more, Ms Penny said.

She also added it was "pure fantasy" for the alleged victim to claim she incurred neck injuries from being wedged between two tree trunks.

Ms Penny said her account was "implausible" and "untrue". And she said: "The defence say to you, you cannot be sure that she was telling the truth."

Ms Penny went on: "Let me be frank - I can't tell you why she made these allegations.

"There are all sorts of possibilities. You may think the fact that she made reference to the allegations on Facebook may suggest she is attention-seeking."

Ms Penny asked jurors to consider whether the woman also might be "a bit unhinged" - pointing to her alleged reference in the Chinese restaurant to having a microchip in her back to enable her to alert London gangsters to her whereabouts.

And Ms Penny said the woman had "disgraced" herself in the restaurant by talking about gangsters, stabbing a member of their group with a fork and making remarks about "transvestites".

Concluding her closing speech, Ms Penny added: "I suggest to you that you consider these two charges in the context of two consenting adults who had drunk too much and had lowered their inhibitions."

The jury will retire on Wednesday. The case was adjourned to 11am.

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