IM this article to a friend!

February 18, 2003


From: Exeter Express, UK - 18 Feb 2003


A man has appeared in court accused of raping a girl at an Exeter school.

It is claimed that deaf student Gavin Griffiths, 19, climbed through a window at the school into the girl's room before raping her.

Exeter Crown Court heard that he had earlier asked the fellow deaf pupil if she wanted sex with him and she had said no.

But he attacked her when they were alone in her bedroom at the Royal West of England Residential School for the Deaf, off Topsham Road, it was alleged.

Griffiths, of Penywern Road, Ystalyfera, Swansea, denies rape.

The trial began yesterday Note:Mon with the aid of four sign language interpreters. The girl gave evidence via a video link.

She told the court she had been in bed at 2am in her ground floor room when she heard the chain which secured her open window being broken.

Through an interpreter, she explained how Griffiths had broken through the window and said he wanted to talk to her.

She said: "I told him to go away. I was frightened because I thought he wanted to have sex with me."

The girl said she objected when he kissed her and tried to push him away before he raped her.

She also said she had tried to sign her objections to him, the court was told.

The girl stripped her bedding and put it with her nightdress into the washing machine. It was not until a week later that she confided in a friend what had happened. A member of staff was informed and the police became involved.

The girl admitted having sex with Griffiths twice, a year before, but they were not boyfriend and girlfriend.

A few days before the incident, Griffiths had asked her for sex but she refused.

Under cross-examination by barrister Ros Collins, the girl admitted she sometimes told staff about petty arguments with other pupils. She also admitted threatening to commit suicide and wanted staff to see her upset.

Miss Collins said Griffiths, who no longer attended the school, was a popular pupil who had several girlfriends and the girl was prone to complaining to staff about things which did not happen.

Prosecutor William Hart said the only issue in the case was whether the girl had consented.

When interviewed by police, Griffiths admitted going into the girl's room and breaking the window but said he had arranged to do that with her.

When asked if the girl consented, he said she had not said yes or no.

He said beforehand the two had been watching television and "snogging".

The trial continues.

© Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.