A convicted murderer has gone out of his way to try to prove he is innocent of raping and sexually assaulting two schoolgirls, a trial has heard.
William ‘Billy’ Dunlop, 54, who is serving life for the murder of pizza delivery girl Julie Hogg in 1989, is now accused of attacking two girls separately in Billingham several decades ago.
He says the alleged victims, who are now grown up and cannot be identified, are lying.
Defence barrister Richard Wright QC said in his closing speech to the jury that Dunlop had gone out of his way to try to prove his innocence including engaging a private detective.
Mr Wright accused police of not investigating inconsistencies in one of the girl’s accounts from 2003 when she first reported it to her latest version more than a decade later.
The Crown Prosecution Service originally decided not to proceed with the allegations.
Questioning what had changed to result in Dunlop being charged, Mr Wright said: “Do you think this case would have been resurrected if the defendant’s name was not Billy Dunlop?”
Mr Dunlop said there was significant inconsistencies between the first alleged victim’s account including the age she said she was and the circumstances in which she said she was attacked.
Mr Wight said delays in the time since the alleged offences have worked against Dunlop as witnesses and records for him to try to disprove the allegations had disappeared.
He took on a private detective himself to try to corroborate facts, the court heard.
“All he can say is it didn’t happen because all the evidence has been lost,” said Mr Wright.
“He has done everything he can. What have the police done to investigate it? Absolutely nothing.”
Mr Wright suggested the second alleged victim’s claims were being used simply to try to bolster the first woman’s account.
He accepted killer Dunlop had “undoubtedly told lies in the past”. But he urged the jury to look at the evicence in a “cold hearted, hard headed” way.
“On the evidence you have heard, you simply cannot be sure of his guilt of these offences,” said Mr Wright.
Prosecutor Christine Egerton said in her closing speech that Dunlop was an “arch manipulator”.
She said differences in the first woman’s account had been explained.
Miss Egerton said both alleged victims had been “open, straight forward and clear” in the witness box.
But she accused Dunlop of dodging and deflecting questions.
“The prosecution say the whole picture painted in evidence before you over the last week or so makes perfect sense,” said Miss Egerton.
“These are honest witnesses who know what he did to them years ago.”
Dunlop, formerly of Billingham, denies three offences of rape, and he denies two offences of indecent assault.
The trial continues.