Woman who accused MP’s aide of rape was ’caught up in a merry-go-round of lies’, jury told

A WOMAN who accused an MP's aide of raping her in the Palace of Westminster got caught up on a "merry-go-round" of lies, jurors were told today.

Samuel Armstrong, 24, allegedly assaulted the young parliamentary worker when she fell asleep after a night of drinking in a Commons bar last October.

He is said to have forced himself on the woman on a sofa and a desk in the office of his boss Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet.

Armstrong's barrister Sarah Forshaw QC said all the prosecution could rely on to support their case was the complainant's distressed state when she left the office and found a catering worker in the early hours.

She said it boiled down to "one man's word, one woman's word, against another".

The QC said: "The complainant was vulnerable, had a troubled past and had made an allegation for whatever reason which she was then unable to go back on."

Summing up the defence case, she went on: "What she's done is she's stepped onto a sort of merry-go-round.

"When you put your foot on the merry-go-round, it's almost impossible as it gathers speed to get off."

She added the complainant was not "wicked" and did not want to ruin Armstrong's life but "she's in that position because she couldn't get off the roundabout."

Miss Forshaw described the complainant as a "confident, assertive, independent" young woman and a "sexual sophisticate' who appeared to enjoy teasing Armstrong.

At no point did she physically resist him, tell him to stop or leave the room during the alleged assault, she said.

She asked the jury whether they felt the "earnest, a little geeky, awkward" defendant would have thrown his political career.

Ms Forshaw suggested that "perfectly understandable" attempts to encourage rape victims to come forward has caused a "complete over-correction, a culture of automatic victim belief, that now means that a man accused of a sexual offence may find it difficult or even impossible to establish his innocence".

Armstrong, of Danbury, Essex, denies two counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration.

He told the court they had consensual sex after he took her to see Jeremy Corbyn's office.

Earlier prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told jurors Armstrong has a "potentially huge motivation to lie".

In contrast, he pointed to the woman's "almost visceral" reaction to the suggestion her allegations were "manufactured from beginning to end".

The trial continues at Southwark Crown Court.


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