A MAN accused of twice raping a 15-year-old girl has been cleared of one rape charge.
David Bentley, of Bath Street, Huddersfield, appeared at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.
The 50-year-old was found not guilty of one count of rape by a majority verdict, but the jury is still deliberating on the second rape charge.
Bentley, a father, will return to the court on Monday to hear the jury’s verdict on the second rape charge.
He has denied raping the teenage Bradford girl, who had a mental age of five, on April 10 and 11 last year.
In a previous hearing he said the girl had told him she had been sleeping with her boyfriend in his car up on the moors.
He said: “I’m not guilty because I’d never touch a child – I’d never, ever touch a child.”
He said he was “disgusted”, “horrified” and “mortified” at being accused of rape. However, the prosecution said Bentley had targeted the girl because she was vulnerable.
Prosecutor Peter Moulson said doctors found the teenage girl had injuries “consistent” with what was alleged. He said Bentley had refused to answer questions put to him by police after being arrested on May 20 last year and hadn’t tried to help them.
There was no DNA or forensic evidence.
The court heard how the girl had told one of her teachers she had been raped.
A teacher said in a statement: “She didn’t cry but was very serious – I knew she was telling the truth.”
The girl also alleged Bentley had given her a sexual nickname and would ‘go off on one’ if she said no to sex.
Gillian Batts, defending Bentley, said the teenager had lied and her account of what happened was “a work of fiction”.
She said: “Even though she may be presented as a child of five because of her learning difficulties, she was in fact 15.”
Miss Batts said the girl had known about adult relationships and sex and had teenage hormones.
She believed there were a lot of inconsistencies in what the teenager had said in interview and under cross-examination.
Miss Batts said: “It doesn’t mean necessarily that because she’s got learning difficulties that she’s incapable of lying.”
The jury is expected to reach a verdict on the second rape charge on Monday.