Man accused of rape claims he was blackmailed

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A MAN accused of rape told a court he continued to have sex with his alleged victim and to pay her money because he was scared she would tell his wife they were having an affair.

Dean Smitherman, 41, of Havant, is appearing at Chichester Crown Court on 18 charges of rape and two of indecent assault against the 26-year-old victim between 2002 and 2010.

She claims he threatened to harm her family unless she had sex with him, and forced her to go in his van to woodland just past Rowlands Castle where he raped her.

Giving evidence for the first time yesterday Smitherman said that, contrary to the alleged victim’s claims, contact did not begin between them until around a year after his father died in February 2004.

Smitherman claims a relationship began when she approached him and offered to pay back a debt a member of her family owed.

He told the court that, after a while: ‘We just became really good friends. We had a laugh and a joke.’

Two years after the payments started, he said she offered to perform a sex act instead of giving him money, to which he agreed.

He said that and after that she began demanding money from him or she would tell his wife that they were having an affair.

He claimed the demands for money increased and he felt forced to regularly give her cash and even paid for a dog, Christmas Club money and a debt she owed to the bank.

He said: ‘I thought if my wife found out I would lose her, I would lose my kids, I would lose everything.’

He also told the jury a hire purchase agreement proved he had only had a white van, described by the alleged victim as the mode of transport from the time the alleged attacks began in 2002, since November 2006 .

He said he had ‘stupidly’ agreed to have sex with the alleged victim on three occasions because she was blackmailing him.

He said the last occasion was on April 1 2010, when he told the woman he could not afford to give her any more money.

Prosecutor Jenny Knight said: ‘Did you think about what you might be able to do to stop her?

‘Did you think about saying to her “Fine, you tell my wife and I will deny it”?’

Smitherman replied: ‘No’.