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Victim of alleged rape by teacher 'attempted suicide'

A woman who claims she was raped 10 years ago by a school teacher has told a jury that she tried to take her own life by overdosing on tablets during the period she alleges that she was being sexually abused.

The 23-year-old complainant, a university graduate who cannot be named, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Londonderry teacher Stewart Robert Smith (39).

Smith, from Winchester Park in the Waterside, denies three charges of raping the then schoolgirl and one charge of indecently assaulting her.

The defendant is accused of committing the offences in his home and in the complainant's family home between December 2002 and August 2003.

During her evidence, the complainant, who at times was visibly upset, told the Crown Court jury that she attempted to take her own life because she felt lonely and isolated during the period of her alleged abuse.

“I didn't know what was going on. It was like a warped, weird relationship and I didn't know how to handle it.

“I don't know why this stuff happened, it just did”, she said.

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She alleged that the first time the defendant raped her was in her home after she, her mother and the defendant had been drinking for several hours. The witness said her mother went to bed and she went to the bathroom. She claimed the defendant came into the bathroom and kissed her on the lips. She said the next thing the defendant was having sex with her.

“It was so confusing I didn't know what to do,” she said.

Asked by prosecution barrister Jackie Orr QC why she decided to go to the police in November 2009 with her allegations, the witness said that she was on work placement at the time working with 14-year-old girls.

“I then realised what had happened to me at the same age was wrong,” she said.

The trial continues today.

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