Devon

Man accused of raping woman on pavement in Bideford

Motorists drove past as a woman was raped on a pavement in a north Devon town centre, a court has heard.

Gary Gunstone is accused of following his 30-year-old victim through the streets of Bideford before raping her in full view of passing drivers.

Mr Gunstone, 36, of Moreton Avenue, Bideford, Devon, denies raping the woman in August last year.

The jury at Exeter Crown Court heard he had been convicted of sexual assault on a woman in 2009.

Simon Laws, prosecuting, said Mr Gunstone told the woman during the alleged August attack that he had a knife and would harm her.

'No concern'

He said the victim was returning home to her parents at about midnight after visiting her boyfriend when the attack happened.

He told the court she was in a sexual relationship with her boyfriend, but had chosen to retain her virginity.

"She fought back, hitting and kicking him but he was impervious," Mr Laws said.

"He is a very imposing presence physically, very strong and heavy and he used his strength and weight to keep her on the ground."

Mr Laws told the jury Mr Gunstone showed no apparent concern for the cars which passed by.

"He made no attempt to hide what he was doing - it was just something he wanted to do there and then and he did it," he said.

Mr Laws told the court Mr Gunstone was sentenced to 12 months in jail in August 2009 for a sexual assault on a woman in Barnstaple in "very similar" circumstances.

After the most recent attack, Mr Laws said Mr Gunstone told police the woman, who was a stranger to him, had agreed to have sex with him on the pavement.

It was "a sorry attempt" to avoid responsibility for his actions, Mr Laws said.

The trial continues.

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