Jury set to begin historic rape case deliberations

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THE JURY is today set to start considering its verdict on a man accused of repeatedly raping a woman over an eight-year period.

During the course of the two-week trial at Chichester Crown Court the jury has heard claims from the 26-year-old woman that Dean Smitherman demanded sex from her as ‘payment in kind’ for a debt.

She told the jury he threatened to harm her family unless she went with him to woods, just beyond Rowlands Castle, where she said he brutally raped her.

But Smitherman, 41, from Havant, claims she blackmailed him into having sex with her three times.

He claims she threatened to tell his wife they were having an affair and demanded money which he initially said totalled £2,000 to £3,000. It was later revealed in court the amounts he claimed he gave her actually added up to £4,500.

Yesterday prosecutor Jenny Knight put to him: ‘You saw an opportunity to have this rather nervous, lonely girl under your control.’ He denied the claim.

Sarah Jones, defending Smitherman, said the woman’s testimony was lies and told the jury they must decide whether Smitherman was ‘an ordinary sort of bloke who, like countless others, cheated on his wife or was a brutal sadistic predator.’

Smitherman denies the charges. (Proceeding)