A MAN accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a man in a Cotswolds cottage flatly denied the allegation.
Luiz da Silva Neto, 35, is accused of administering a substance to two men in November and December 2021 before going on to sexually assault them. He denies allegations including sexual activity without consent, rape and kidnap.
Giving evidence in his own defence at Oxford Crown Court this morning, da Silva Neto said he and the first alleged victim had gone down to his cottage in Middle Barton, west Oxfordshire, on the evening of November 10 in order to carry out some DIY before guests visited later in the week.
Before leaving London, the pair and the defendant’s partner had eaten dinner at da Silva Neto’s flat. He had exchanged texts with his drug dealer trying to arrange to buy ‘G’ – or GBL – and crystal meth.
When that proved unsuccessful, he and the alleged victim went to Bayswater, west London for around two hours. Da Silva Neto went upstairs to his friend’s flat while the other man waited in the car. Aside from some cannabis, he was unable to get any drugs, he said.
Arriving in Middle Barton later that evening, they taped up doors and did some sanding in the property, then shared ‘two or three’ Corona beers each, he said.
The defendant said he had taken crystal meth while the other man went outside for a ‘cigarette’, which he suspected had contained cannabis.
As they sat in the living room, da Silva Neto played heterosexual pornography on the TV. He claimed to have noticed the other man was sexually aroused.
“I made a joke of it and asked him if he wanted me to help it,” he said.
“I just went for it,” he added. “It was almost a dare, joke kind of thing.”
The other man was said to have removed his genitals from his trousers before the defendant began performing oral sex on him, he told the jury.
Asked by his barrister why he believed the other man was consenting to the sexual activity, da Silva Neto said: “He was touching himself and he was looking at me.”
The defendant said he stopped as the other man was a friend of his and his partner.
Afterwards, da Silva Neto went upstairs to bed, while the second man went to sleep on the sofa. He denied claims made by the alleged victim that he had made-up a bed for him on the living room floor. Jurors were shown a still image from a video walk-through of the house in which a heavy table could be seen between the two sofas, leaving very little floor space.
Earlier, da Silva Neto, who gave evidence wearing a light blue collared shirt and dark washed blue jeans, told jurors that he had come to the UK from Brazil in 2009 in order to study.
He had worked gruelling 18-hour days, starting work at 6am before going to ‘school’ on the Tottenham Court Road from midday until 3.30pm then returning to work at a restaurant until midnight.
Completing his studies two years later gave him more time to meet new people and he was introduced to the London party scene and the drugs that came with them, he said.
He took a wide range of drugs, including GBL. “When you start going out when you’re fresh-faced on the gay scene, people offer you stuff. To be part of the group of the club I would say yes. I started to realise I had a very addictive personality so it did take over a little bit.”
READ MORE: Jury hears from second 'victim' in case
Da Silva Neto told the jury he would sometimes go to parties ‘in nice penthouses in London by the river and the drugs were laid down on the table for free’. The parties might involve men having sex with each other – either in bedrooms or in what he termed ‘very dirty orgies’.
His drug use spiralled during the coronavirus pandemic, he said. His flower business in the capital had had to lay off staff and he was at home ‘all day’. “We were just using drugs all day.”
Da Silva Neto, of Riverlight Quay, Wandsworth, denies administering a substance with intent and engaging in penetrative sexual activity without consent with two men. He is accused of the rape and kidnap of the second man, against whom the defendant is accused of committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence.
The trial continues.
This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.
To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk
Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward