Rape accused cleared by jury

A MAN accused of raping a woman while she was semi-conscious has been cleared by a jury.Jurors at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court took two hours to find Jonathan Sheldrake, 19, of Norwich Road, Mendlesham, not guilty of raping the nightclubber - who claimed she was attacked after she banged her head.

A MAN accused of raping a woman while she was semi-conscious has been cleared by a jury.

Jurors at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court took two hours to find Jonathan Sheldrake, 19, of Norwich Road, Mendlesham, not guilty of raping the nightclubber - who claimed she was attacked after she banged her head.

During the two-day trial, which ended on Thursday, the jury heard the woman had been enjoying an evening out in Stowmarket in June last year.

Peter Fenn, prosecuting, said the defendant met the woman in Jokers nightclub and then bumped into her again in the town at 2am.

The woman claimed Sheldrake tried to kiss her and then pulled her towards him. She said she fell backwards and banged her head against a window, knocking herself out. She claimed she was being raped as she came to.

She said she went to a nearby public toilet and returned to find Sheldrake had disappeared along with her handbag.

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Sheldrake denied raping the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but admitted a charge of theft.

He will be sentenced for taking the handbag later this month.

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