Lancashire

Blackpool TV aerial fitter 'doped woman, 83, for sex'

A TV aerial fitter doped an 83-year-old Lancashire woman with designer drugs before sexually assaulting her, Preston Crown Court has been told.

The prosecution said the assault took place as Darren Penfold was carrying out repairs at the woman's Blackpool home.

He laced the woman's afternoon glass of Southern Comfort with the drugs in January 2010, jurors heard.

Penfold, 48, of North Drive, Cleveleys, denies the sex assault and overpowering the woman for sex with the drugs.

Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said on most days the victim would have a "happy hour" during the afternoon during which she would have a glass or two of Southern Comfort.

He said: "What should have been her happy hour became on any interpretation her unhappiest hour.

"It seems the defendant also partook of the alcohol and was pouring drink for her, which the prosecution say got her into such a condition that she was unable to prevent what he went on to perpetrate against her."

'Hallucinogenic effects'

Mr Haworth added: "When she awoke she found herself in her bedroom, not wearing the clothes she had been wearing.

"There was evidence of clothing being removed and being strewn on the floor."

A urine sample from the victim - now aged 85 - showed a significant amount of alcohol had been taken in the period concerned and traces of the drugs BZP and TFMPP.

Mr Haworth said both were relatively new designer drugs which were marketed as so-called legal highs until December 2009, when they were outlawed as Class C controlled drugs.

Mixing the two substances produced "mood-altering and hallucinogenic effects" and had side effects of possible seizures.

Mr Haworth said research into the drugs was still in its infancy, particularly regarding the elderly.

The case continues on Tuesday.

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