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Jury's quick decision on rape claims; Just 20 minutes taken to decide not guilty verdict.

Byline: David Higgs

A JURY took just 20 minutes to unanimously clear a cyclist of raping a teenage girl at knifepoint on a secluded path.

Lawyers defending David Andrew Haydon, 26, told Cardiff Crown Court the victim's account of the alleged incident on a cycle track near Pontycymer, Bridgend, was "seriously flawed".

The jury of nine women and three men heard there was no forensic evidence to link Haydon, of Upper Adare Street, Pontycymer, to the alleged victim.

"The defence say her account alone is seriously flawed," defence barrister Gareth Nicholas Jones said.

"The prosecution have one witness alone, who says she was raped. There is no-one else to confirm that rape.

"She has got no injuries to her anywhere and there's no damage to her clothing.

"There is no forensic evidence to link him with her. The way she was raped simply doesn't add up."

During the trial, the jury heard a recorded interview of the girl describing to detectives how she had seen a "skinny" man swigging from a bottle of beer ride past her on a bike in the opposite direction before returning five minutes later to assault her.

Haydon denied the charges, saying the girl had become upset after he rejected her sexual advances.

He claimed the girl had stopped him on the path before asking for a drink of his lager.

The defendant claimed he pushed her away after she tried to kiss him and put her hand on his thigh.

A second interview was played in which the girl told police her attacker had threatened to slit her throat with a knife - something she had forgotten to tell detectives originally, despite reporting it to a passer-by immediately after the alleged attack.

The jury heard how passer-by Jay Jones had left his house after 5pm to walk to his allotment and found the girl in distress.

He said he took the girl back to his nearby house where his mother Heather, who told the court she was "crying and soaking wet", rang police.

Putting his case to the jury, defence barrister Mr Jones said Haydon had panicked after being arrested and lied about his whereabouts on the day in question.

Haydon, he said, had a number of previous convictions, telling jurors: "He has been in a police station before and knows the police relationship to people like him who have a number of previous convictions.

"Inevitably the first thing the police do is check their records."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 3, 2013
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