Trainee accountant cleared of sex assault after teenager posted online: 'I was only raped - chill the f*** out'

Patrick Sawer
Privately-educated George Owen subjected to a 19-month court ordeal before being cleared in just over two hours - Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd

A trainee accountant accused of raping a student during a night out has been cleared after it emerged she sent Facebook messages to friends saying: "I was only raped - chill the f*** out."

The student, who was 18 at the time, accused George Owen, 21, of raping her after they left a bar at the Millgate Shopping centre in Bury, Greater Manchester.

She had initially declined to report the matter but called police almost a year later after attending a rape crisis centre when her tutor became so concerned at her behaviour.

The teenager contacted police again two weeks later, after she spotted Owen by chance in a pub and recognised him as her alleged attacker.

The jury at Owen’s trial heard that she later posted messages on Facebook about her decision to report the alleged rape, in which she stated:

"OMG hahahahaha my mum knows. My mum started crying. She wants to hold my hand to go through it all with me. I was only raped chill the f*** out".

She added: "I'm going to ring them (police) tomorrow and tell them I'll do it. My mum wants to come so I'm going to ask whether I can do it while she's on holiday. It's going to be so fun."

Owen, from Bury, was later arrested but said the teenager had agreed to have sex with him. He was later charged with rape, attempted rape and sexual assault.

Following a week long trial during which the woman’s Facebook messages were read out to the jury Owen, who works for an accounts and auditing firm in Bolton and who was a former pupil at the £10,440 a year Bury Grammar School, was cleared of all charges.

We had a few drinks and were tipsy, but we were both in control of what we were doing

George Owen

The jurors at Minshull Street Crown Court took two hours and 14 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict to cheers from the public gallery.

The court heard the pair had met in June 2015 when the woman was out with a college friend in Bury.

Initially they went to Yates Wine Lodge but during the evening the girl met another man who was a friend of Owen and she decided to go with him to nearby Pics bar.

Once there, the man began drunkenly asking for sex and Owen, stepped in. He apologised for his friend's behaviour and offered to pay for the girl to get a taxi home.

But the teenager alleged that once outside he pounced on her.

She later told police that Owen repeatedly sexually assaulted in a nearby alley before throwing a £5 note at her and saying: "I think you should go home now."

The woman, who is now 19, initially told a friend about the incident but did not report the encounter to police.

However she attended the rape crisis centre at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester after one of her lecturers became so concerned about her behaviour.

She was eventually interviewed by police about the allegations on April 5 last year and she called police again when she spotted Owen two weeks later playing pool with friends in a pub.

Owen from Hawkshaw, Bury, later told police he was “shocked” to have been accused of rape.

He told officers: "We met this girl and got chatting and I bought us both some drinks and we continued laughing and chatting. I then said to her ‘would you like to go outside and have sex?’. She said yes so I said ‘meet me over there over the road in 2/3 mins and I will come and meet you’.

“I left a few minutes later and when I went over the road she was there waiting for me. I'm not the sort of person to do this. But she was a good looking girl and I was attracted to her. I thought she was interested in me to be honest. She gave me all the signs.”

George Owen, a keen golfer, was acquitted of all charges Credit: Picasa/Cavendish

Owen added: “I wasn't thinking at the time, I know it's not right to ask someone it have sex with you after you've known them for like an hour. I've never done it before. I never want to do it again, not after all this.

"I don't have sex with many girls. This is the first time I've ever done it on a night out. Neither of us were blind drunk. We had a few drinks and were tipsy but we were both in control of what we were doing. It was a stupid mistake and it was a spur of the moment kind of thing.

"I didn't force myself upon her. We had sex and she consented.”

In court he added: "I never used physical force. She didn't push me away she didn't say no. It was completely consensual. I had a girlfriend at the time so we didn't exchange numbers or anything.

"I could tell she wanted it just as much as me, she was the one who initiated it. I know now that I was a stupid 18 year old and it was one of the worst decisions of my life.

Francine Healy, a friend of the Owen family, told the court: "George is a respectable young man who understands the importance of hard work. He has grown up with my daughters and has always shown them the utmost respect and consideration. He is a brilliant sportsman and loves his sport, he loves his family and has a very strong relationship with them and he has integrity, honesty and kindness."

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