Havant man denies rape and sex assaults over eight years

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A MARRIED father-of-two has denied repeatedly raping a woman over an eight-year period.

Dean Smitherman, from Havant, is accused of raping the woman 18 times since she was 16 years old and indecently assaulting her twice.

Chichester Crown Court heard the rapes began after the victim began paying back a debt to Smitherman.

In videotaped evidence shown to the jury, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police officers how after four or five months of paying back the debt at £10 a week Smitherman changed the conditions and demanded sex as payment in kind – or he would hurt her family.

The woman, now 26, said: ‘I just wanted the money to hurry up and be paid off because I knew my family would be safe then.

‘He said to me “you don’t have to pay me any more” I said, “Are you sure? Thank you”.’

But the court heard how Smitherman soon got back in touch and asked to meet the victim at a local block of garages to talk about the payments.

He’s alleged to have told her to get in his van and forced her to crouch down in the passenger seat to avoid them being seen together.

He drove to a secluded wooded area in Finchdean Lane, near Rowlands Castle, and parked his work van, the court was told.

There, the woman said he demanded sex as ‘payment in kind’ for the money and threatened to hurt her family if she did not submit.

The jury heard how he raped her in the back of the van before driving her back to the garages.

The court heard how, over the next five years, he would demand to see her and threaten to hurt her family, before raping her.

But the woman said the rapes became more violent in 2007 and Smitherman, a satellite television engineer, began to use cable ties to stop her struggling and once used masking tape to try to stifle her screams.

She said: ‘If I did not do what he wanted he would get really nasty.

‘He would text me and say “I know where your dad is”.

‘So I would meet up with him.

‘He said “I only want to talk to you”.

‘He would tie me up so I couldn’t do anything.

‘I felt scared because I knew what was going to happen.’

In cross-examination, Smitherman’s barrister Sarah Jones asked why it took eight years for the woman to report it to the police.

She also accused her of blackmailing Smitherman.

Smitherman, 41, denies all the charges.

A court order has been made to stop Smitherman’s full address being given.

(Proceeding)