Berkshire

Philip Askew rape trial: Ice dancer denies 'awful' charge

Philip Askew
Image caption Philip Askew, pictured in 1991, denies the charge of rape

A former champion ice dancer charged with raping a girl has told a court it is "the most shocking thing that a man can be accused of".

Philip Askew, 44, denies assaulting the girl in his room at Slough's YMCA in 1995 when he was aged 21.

Giving evidence at Reading Crown Court, he said the girl's father had confronted him at the time about the two of them sleeping together.

Mr Askew said he had "reassured him it hadn't happened".

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard the defendant had been summoned to a meeting at Bracknell ice rink with his accuser's parents.

Mr Askew told the court the meeting took place between him and the girl's father, and insisted the girl's mother had not been present.

'Had a crush'

He told the jury he was initially shocked by the allegation from the girl's father that he had had sex with his daughter.

"I was a young man of 21. I was a bit embarrassed to be honest. I knew inside I hadn't done anything wrong and I assured him of that," he said.

"I was embarrassed that a young girl had said something like that about me, it wasn't very nice."

He said the word "rape" had never been used, adding: "I just reassured him that hadn't happened and that she must have had a crush on me. He seemed to accept it."

Mr Askew told the jury he and the girl had known each other in the 1990s and had exchanged Facebook messages years later.

The court heard that, in 1995, Mr Askew had been held up at the Bracknell rink as a "shining example to look up to for aspiring skaters".

The court also heard that, after being crowned British champion in 1995 and 1996 with ice partner Marika Humphries, he stopped skating competitively in 1997.

He described how he had been skating since he was about four years old, saying: "It takes over your life."

'Awful thing'

"I like to think I was relatively successful," he said.

Barry McElduff, prosecuting, told him he had taken advantage of his accuser when she was under 16 years old, gaining her trust before raping her.

Mr Askew responded: "No. That's an awful thing to say, that's not happened."

He added: "I think being accused of rape is the most shocking thing a man can be accused of, it's awful."

The trial continues.

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