Trial starts for man accused of raping teen and woman
A “SEXUAL predator” raped a woman and a 14-year-old Cheltenham girl in two separate attacks near a Gloucester primary school, a court heard.
Rico Palmer, 22, went on trial yesterday accused of raping a 27-year-old from Lydney as well as the teenager near to Widden Street Primary School.
Prosecutor Virginia Cornwall told the jury: “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.
“None of these women know each other, yet each of them make a similar complaint about this young man and the crown suggest that is more than coincidental.”
Gloucester Crown Court heard Palmer, of Charles Street, Gloucester, met the 27-year-old in The Registry nightclub in Gloucester on July 21 last year just before 2am.
Ms Cornwall said she had become lost from her friends in the city she did not know well and Palmer offered to help her find them.
She said he took her near to his former primary school and home and raped her in the play park. She was found wandering the street, lost, by police an hour later.
Palmer 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.”
Ms Cornwall said Palmer then met two teenagers from Cheltenham in the Eastgate Shopping Centre on October 25 that year at around 6pm.
She told the court he offered them cigarettes, bought them cider and took them to the school before sending the alleged victim’s friend off on an errand and raping the 14-year-old.
Ms Cornwall added: “They are interested in him because he came and provided fags, but he has seen an opportunity for more.”
Palmer denies the allegations.
He said he had consensual sex with the woman and had no sexual contact with the teenager.
The trial continues.