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Policeman 'forced Belfast woman into bushes and sexually assaulted her', court told


West Midlands police officer Martin Asantaempaduh leaves Laganside Court, Belfast

West Midlands police officer Martin Asantaempaduh leaves Laganside Court, Belfast

Photopress Belfast

West Midlands police officer Martin Asantaempaduh leaves Laganside Court, Belfast

A Belfast woman broke down in tears in court yesterday as she gave evidence against an English policeman accused of pushing her into bushes, physically attacking and sexually assaulting her.

Martin Asantaempaduh has denied attacking the woman after she was ejected from a nightclub in the early hours of August 5, 2012.

A jury of seven women and five men were informed that the case against the West Midlands police officer has taken a considerable time to come to court as the accused is "somebody who does not enjoy good health".

Asantaempaduh, from Campville Grove in Birmingham, is accused of both sexually assaulting the woman, and assaulting her occasioning actual bodily harm.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the woman came into contact with Asantaempaduh (40) after she was ejected by bouncers at The Eglantine Bar, Belfast.

She said she witnessed a bottle being thrown in the women's toilets and, when she informed the door staff, she was thrown out of the premises.

The woman said that after leaving The Eglantine, she wanted to get something to eat, then get a taxi home.

As she left the club, she walked across the road where she came into contact with Asantaempaduh who, on the night in question, was staying at Queen's Elms.

She claimed he said he was an undercover police officer, showed her his badge and asked if he could walk with her.

The woman - who prior to the encounter had consumed a bottle of wine, two vodkas and two ciders - said she then asked a passer-by for directions, which prompted her to start walking towards Windsor Park. As she and Asantaempaduh walked down Windsor Park, the woman said she wanted to turn back as the street was getting more dimly-lit - and at this point Asantaempaduh attacked her.

In tears, the woman told the jury: "I wanted to turn back. I said I didn't want to go this way and he said, 'You are going this way', and he pushed me in to the bushes and I fell on the back of my head and he put his hand over my mouth.

"I let out a scream and I could feel the weight of his body on me.

"I begged and pleaded with him, 'Please, please, please don't hurt me, please, please, please don't rape me, you don't want to go to jail for this'."

She said she was able to get to her feet, that Asantaempaduh was still "close" to her and that he made her kiss him.

She told the court that, at this point, she ran up the street and to a filling station on the Malone Road. A resident from an apartment on Malone Road called the PSNI after they heard a woman screaming.

Officers located the woman at the filling station, and arrested Asantaempaduh a short time later.

The alleged injured party sustained injuries in the incident including a scrape to her face and neck, as well as bruising to her back.

When he was arrested and interviewed, Asantaempaduh said he had been talking to a woman in the area and had tried to get her a taxi, but denied assaulting her in the bushes.

Defence barrister Ian Turkington, representing Asantaempaduh, made the case that his client was walking back to his accommodation at Queen's Elms when he was approached by the woman.

Mr Turkington put it to her that "you followed him rather than he followed you", and said it was Asantaempaduh's case that, as he tried to get her a taxi, "you kissed him on the cheek as a thank you, he wanted to have a pee behind a van and you grabbed him on the arm." The woman denied this, but Mr Turkington continued: "You grabbed him on the arm, he pushed you over, you fell and he believed you were knocked out."

She denied these claims, and said it was her belief that the only thing that stopped her being raped was the fact she was wearing an all-in-one trouser suit.

Mr Turkington also put it to her: "I would suggest that you were not sexually assaulted on this evening in question. Any injuries you suffered were accidental, when you approached him from behind and he pushed you over."

She responded: "That's not true."

The case continues.

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