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.
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.
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.
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.