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Teenager cleared of raping woman at Kendal party
3:31pm Friday 19th October 2012 in News
A TEENAGER who had sex with a 39-year-old woman at a party in Kendal has been cleared of raping her.
Two weeks ago a jury at Carlisle Crown Court was discharged after failing to reach a verdict in the trial of 18-year-old Dean Joseph Morton, whom the woman accused of forcing her to have sex against her will.
Mr Morton, of Acre Moss Lane, Kendal, had denied rape, saying that although he had had sex with the woman it was with her consent.
In court on Friday the Crown Prosecution Service, which previously said it would ask for a retrial, had decided not to pursue the case any further.
As a result Mr Morton was formally found not guilty.
The decision to abandon plans for a retrial was taken after the judge pointed out that five witnesses for the defence had given evidence – unchallenged by the prosecution – which cast doubt on the woman’s story.
When the trial ended prosecuting counsel Denise FitzPatrick said the CPS would be taking the case to a retrial, as was the policy for all allegations of rape upon which juries failed to agree.
Judge Barbara Forrester, who had presided over the trial, expressed surprise, saying she had “concerns” about such a decision.
She said the five defence witnesses, who all gave evidence showing that the woman’s account could not possibly be true, meant that the chances of Mr Morton being convicted after a second trial were slim.
“You heard those witnesses just as we all did and they did nothing to strengthen the prosecution case,” she said.
The judge said “discrepancies” in the woman’s own evidence also led her to question the CPS’s decision.
Judge Forrester suggested adjourning the case for 10 days to allow for more consultations between police and the CPS, before returning to court for a final decision.
Today Ms FitzPatrick told the court the CPS intended to take the case no further.
This decision had been made, she said, “in the light of comments made by Your Honour regarding the strength of the prosecution evidence.”
She said the prosecution now accepted it would be “inappropriate” to ask for a retrial and therefore that it was “content” for Mr Morton to be found not guilty.
During the six-day trial the woman claimed that Mr Morton raped her in her bedroom after she had gone upstairs to find some “soothing” CDs after a young man in the house was taken ill.
The woman denied that she had agreed to sex with the teenager, saying she had been left “numb and shocked” by her “horrible” nine-minute ordeal.
She admitted that police had come to the house twice during the party after complaints from neighbours because of the noise.
And she initially denied being drunk – until she changed her mind after being shown a video taken by the headcam on one of the officers at her front door, which showed her subjecting him to a foul-mouthed drunken rant as he asked her to keep the noise down.
In evidence Mr Morton said the woman’s story was “a pack of lies” and that she had even asked him to stay the night after the time when she claimed he had raped her.
He admitted that in two interviews with the police after his arrest he had denied having even consensual sex with the woman, but said this was because he was too “embarrassed” to admit having sex with a 39-year-old.
The five witnesses for the defence, all of whom had been at the party, gave evidence which cast doubt on the woman’s version of events.
One of them said she had heard the woman asking Morton to stay the night after the time at which she told the court he had raped her.
Defence barrister Tim Evans told the jury this evidence showed that there was never a time when – in the timescale the woman had given – Morton had been alone with her.