Alleged victim in east Oxford sexual assault trial cross-examined at Oxford Crown Court

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The alleged victim of a ‘vagrant’ denied making up allegations he had groped her as she sat on the kerb in order to ‘get her boyfriend’s attention’.

Jurors at Oxford Crown Court heard that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was approached by the man as she sat on the kerb on Bartlemas Road, east Oxford, shortly after midnight on November 11 last year.

She initially thought the man, who was carrying a white ‘pole’, was in fancy dress. The teenager said the man, who she could see was older and who prosecutors say was 29-year-old Frank Hollywell, sat down beside. 

He allegedly touched her leg before reaching beneath her leather shorts and underwear. The alleged assault lasted ‘seconds’, she told jurors on Thursday afternoon.

READ MORE: Prosecution sets out allegations in sex assault trial

The woman told the jury that her body ‘froze up’. She was rescued by an acquaintance who was dressed in a bear outfit and who accompanied her back to her home, where she called 999, the court heard.

Hollywell, of Templar Road, denies sexual assault and sexual assault by penetration. The trial continues.

Cross-examining the complainant on Thursday afternoon, Hollywell’s brief Janick Fielding accused her of making up the allegation in order to ‘get the attention’ of the boyfriend with whom she had allegedly quarrelled earlier that evening.

“What I suggest to you in short is this was a spur-of-the-moment, fictious claim by you to get [your boyfriend’s] attention,” Mr Fielding put to her.

She replied: “No, that is incorrect.”

It was put to her there had been nothing to stop her from calling out in alarm when she was allegedly assaulted. “It’s not as easy as just saying ‘don’t touch me’,” she said, later clarifying that she had no opportunity to tell him to stop and her ‘body just froze up’.

Earlier, she denied suggestions from the defence barrister that she had been ‘extremely intoxicated’ or that she initially told the bear-costumed acquaintance that she had been raped.

She was quizzed about a number of trips she had allegedly made to her then boyfriend’s house and during which she was said to have picked up make-up wipes, sweets and a litre-and-a-half bottle of vodka. The items were not with her when she was approached by Hollywell, the court heard.

The jury was also told about an impact statement the woman made in January this year in which she claimed to have been told by her boyfriend that the alleged assault ‘wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t walked home alone’ or if she had walked ‘faster’.

READ MORE: Jurors told woman left ‘absolutely distraught’

“Did he say he couldn’t look at you and broke up with you as a direct result of the assertion you’d made?” Mr Fielding asked. She confirmed that it was.

She denied telling others ‘what they should say’ in their accounts of the events of the evening.

Hollywell denies wrongdoing. The trial continues.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire’s court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward