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Trial of Derbyshire Fire Chief gets underway

The head of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service raped a woman at a pub and later took his wife with him to confront the alleged victim, a court has heard

Derby Crown Court was told that Sean Frayne went to talk to the alleged victim in 2013 after receiving anonymous letters mentioning her name and branding him a rapist.

 

Frayne denies raping the woman in 2006.

 

Opening the case against the 48-year-old, prosecutor Martin Hurst told jurors that Frayne claims to have had consensual sex with the woman.

 

But the Crown allege that Frayne had sex against her will after pulling down her trousers while no one else was present.

 

During his opening statement, Mr Hurst said Frayne was sent two letters by a friend of the alleged victim after she confided in him.

 

The letters, the court heard, suggested the woman may "avoid publicity" for a substantial out-of-court payment.

 

Mr Hurst added: "The defence are going to say that this is all about compensation, that she and (her friend) were in league to try and get some money out of a successful man."

 

But, pointing out the time lapse between the time of the alleged rape and the letters, the prosecutor went on: "If it's all about money, why all the continuing delay?

 

"The prosecution will say that this victim never wanted to tell anybody about what had happened."

 

Mr Hurst added that the jury's task was to decide whether the woman, who claims to have been raped after Frayne grabbed her arm and pulled down her trousers, had consented to sexual intercourse.

 

Jurors were told that Frayne and his wife Helen left the woman "in complete shock" when they visited her to ask her questions about the letters.

 

The Crown submits that the alleged victim knew nothing of her friend's attempts to "achieve some sort of informal justice" on her behalf by sending the letters, written in red ink.

 

Frayne, who is currently suspended from his fire service post, was questioned by police after a formal complaint was made in December 2013.

 

A video interview the alleged victim gave to police in the same month was played to the jury immediately after Mr Hurst's opening remarks.

 

In the interview, the woman claimed that she ended up face down and had sworn at Frayne during the alleged attack.

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