George Owen, of Bury, Greater Manchester, was subjected to a 19-month court ordeal
A trainee accountant accused of raping a college student during a night out has been cleared of wrongdoing after it was revealed his accuser told her friends: ‘I was only raped – chill the f*** out.’
George Owen, 21, was subjected to a 19-month court ordeal after the 19-year-old woman claimed he forced himself on her as they left a bar at Millgate shopping centre in Bury, Greater Manchester.
The student – who cannot be named – had initially declined to report the matter to police. But almost a year later she spotted Owen by chance in a pub, recognised him as her alleged attacker and called officers to speak to them.
In Facebook messages, she said: ‘OMG hahahahaha my mum knows. My mum started crying. She wants to hold my hand to go through it all with me. I was only raped chill the f*** out’
She added: ‘I’m going to ring them (police) tomorrow and tell them I’ll do it. My mum wants to come so I’m going to ask whether I can do it while she’s on holiday. It’s going to be so fun.’
The 19-year-old woman claimed Owen (above) forced himself on her as they left a bar in Bury
Privately-educated Owen, from Bury, was later arrested but said the woman was a willing participant in sex. He was later charged with rape, attempted rape and sexual assault.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, the keen golfer, who works for an accounts and auditing firm in Bolton, was cleared of all charges following a week-long trial during which the messages were read out to the jury.
The jurors took two hours and 14 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict to cheers from the public gallery.
The court heard the encounter occurred in June 2015 whilst the girl – then 18 – had been out with a college friend in Bury.
Initially the pair went to Yates Wine Lodge but during the evening the girl met another man who was a friend of Owen and she decided to go with him to nearby Pics bar.
Once there, the man began drunkenly chatting the woman up and asking for sex and Owen, stepped in.
He apologised for his friend’s behaviour and offered to pay for the girl to get a taxi home – but it was alleged he pounced on her when they went outside.
The girl – who was said to be ‘tipsy but not stupidly drunk’ – claimed she was repeatedly sexually assaulted in a nearby alley before Owen threw a £5 note at her and said: ‘I think you should go home now.’
Keen golfer Owen (pictured), who works for an accounts and auditing firm, was cleared of all charges following a trial during which the Facebook messages were read out to the jury
She told a friend about the incident but did not report the encounter to police. The court heard when she was in college for lectures, one of her tutors was concerned about the way she was behaving and she attended the rape crisis centre at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester.
She was eventually interviewed about the allegations on April 5 last year and she called police again when she spotted Owen two weeks later playing pool with friends in a pub.
When the woman was asked in court what she meant by her Facebook message saying ‘it’s going to be so fun’, she replied: ‘I was being sarcastic there.’
Privately-educated Owen, 21, claimed the woman was a willing participant in sex
In addition, she texted her friend saying: ‘Do you know what you’re going to tell the police?’ But in court, she said: ‘I was just asking whether he had an idea. I was just curious.’
Owen, a former pupil at the £10,440-a-year Bury Grammar School, later told police: ‘I was completely shocked to get accused of this. We met this girl and got chatting and I bought us both some drinks and we continued laughing and chatting.
‘I then said to her ‘would you like to go outside and have sex?’ She said yes so I said ‘meet me over there over the road in 2/3 mins and I will come and meet you’.
‘She stood up and left straight away, which I took as a sign of her wanting to have sex. I left a few minutes later and when I went over the road she was there waiting for me. I’m not the sort of person to do this.
‘But she was a good looking girl and I was attracted to her. I thought she was interested in me to be honest. She gave me all the signs.
‘She was smiling and laughing and we were stood close together. We were talking flirtatiously, we didn’t kiss or touch or anything. Then just like I told you, we went outside and had sex.
‘I would not do it again. I wasn’t thinking at the time, I know it’s not right to ask someone it have sex with you after you’ve known them for like an hour. I’ve never done it before.i never want to do it again, not after all this.
‘I don’t have sex with many girls. This is the first time I’ve ever done it on a night out. Neither of us were blind drunk. We had a few drinks and were tipsy but we were both in control of what we were doing.
The 19-year-old woman claimed Owen forced himself on her as they left a bar at Millgate shopping centre (pictured) in Bury, Greater Manchester
‘I didn’t plan on this to happen, I didn’t organise us having sex, it just happened, it was a stupid mistake and it was a spur of the moment kind of thing.
‘I didn’t force myself upon her. We had sex and she consented. The last time I saw her was at the end of last summer, so I think it’s really weird that she’s left it this long to do this.’
In court he added: ‘She was tipsy and the conversation was flirtatious. She brushed my legs a few times with her hand. I jokingly said to her ‘should we go and have sex then’ and she was really serious about it and said yes.
‘I never used physical force. She didn’t push me away she didn’t say no. It was completely consensual. I had a girlfriend at the time so we didn’t exchange numbers or anything. I didn’t get her details because I knew pretty much straight after that it wasn’t going to go anywhere and that it was a mistake.
‘I could tell she wanted it just as much as me, she was the one who initiated it. I know now that I was a stupid 18 year old and it was one of the worst decisions of my life.
Family friend Francine Healy told the court: ‘George is a respectable young man who understands the importance of hard work. He has grown up with my daughters and has always shown them the utmost respect and consideration.
‘He is a brilliant sportsman and loves his sport, he loves his family and has a very strong relationship with them and he has integrity, honesty and kindness.’