'Sexual predator' raped woman and teenager near Gloucester school, court told
"SEXUAL predator" Rico Palmer allegedly raped a woman and a 14-year-old girl in separate attacks near a Gloucester primary school, a court heard.
Rico Palmer denies raping a 27-year-old from Lydney as well as the 14-year-old from Cheltenham near to Widden Street Primary School in Gloucester last year.
At the opening of his trial at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday, prosecutor Virginia Cornwall told jurors: "We suggest the evidence will show this young man worked in a predatory way. He met with them disregarding their wishes and ignoring the issue of consent.
"He befriended each of them before taking them away in an area that was much more secluded that only he knew and he forced sexual activity on them. He left each girl very shortly and abruptly after.
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"None of these women know each other, yet each of them make a similar complaint about this young man and the Crown suggests that is more than coincidental."
Gloucester Crown Court heard Palmer, 22, met the 27-year-old in The Registry nightclub just before 2am on July 21 last year.
Ms Cornwall said she had become lost from her friends and Palmer, of Charles Street, offered to help her find them.
She said he took her near to his former primary school and raped her in the play park.
He also stands accused of stealing her phone after the attack.
Ms Cornwall said: "She relied on him, trusted him and naively, using her judgement, believed it would be ok, but it wasn't."
She told jurors Palmer met two teenagers from Cheltenham in the Eastgate Shopping Centre at around 6pm on October 25 last year.
She told the court he offered them cigarettes and bought them cider, taking them to the school before sending one of them off on an errand and raping the lone girl left behind.
"The girls were talking about sex and he has seen this as green light," she said.
"They are interested in him because he came and provided fags, but he has seen an opportunity for more."
Palmer denies the allegations against him and said he had consensual sex with the woman and had no sexual contact with the teenager.
The trial continues.