Man appears in court charged with early morning rape in Hartlepool town centre

A man has appeared before a judge charged with the rape of a woman in the early hours in a Hartlepool town centre street.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 12:47 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:36 am

Paul Rowntree, 24, of no fixed address, appeared at Teesside Crown Court charged with rape.

He is charged with raping the woman at around 3am on December 1 in an alleyway between Lucan Street and Middleton Grange Road, Hartlepool, at the rear of Bar Paris and Loons public house.

Rowntree appeared over a videolink from Durham Jail and prosecutor Paul Cleasby said that there was an application from the victim for special measures during the trial.

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Police at the scene.

A woman who is the complainant in the case is to give evidence over a videolink, a court was told today.

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, will be cross-examined during the Teesside Crown Court trial over a videolink from a sexual offence’s video suite some miles away.

The accused man’s case will be subject of a four day trial starting on May 12.

Judge Peter Armstrong told Rowntree that he had to be advised that he would receive a reduced sentence credit of up to 30% for pleading guilty.

Police at the scene following a rape allegation in Hartlepool town centre.

The judge said: “It does not mean that you get a longer sentence if you have a trial.”

Stephen Constantine, defending, said that he was waiting to receive a full list of witnesses from the prosecution.

A defence statement from Rowntree will be filed with the prosecution within the next few weeks.

He was further remanded in custody.