Lancashire

Sex attack 'changed elderly woman's life'

An elderly woman has said a TV aerial fitter accused of drugging and sexually assaulting her at her Lancashire home altered her whole life.

The 85-year-old said she "did not recognise herself any more" and no longer trusted people after the alleged incident in Blackpool in January 2010.

Darren Penfold, 48, is said to have slipped two drugs into her whisky.

At Preston Crown Court, Mr Penfold denies sexual assault and administering a substance to stupefy the woman.

He also denies stealing four bottles of alcohol from her house.

'I was paralysed'

The woman - who was 83 at the time - said she came round on her bed the following morning, with clothes missing and having no recollection how she got upstairs, the court has heard.

Police were called when she began to remember that a man had abused her.

She told the jury: "I am not used to anyone like that man. I have never known anyone like that man.

"He has altered my whole life. I do not recognise myself as the same person."

Richard Hunt, defending, asked if she remembered Mr Penfold leaving the house on the night of 27 January 2010.

"I don't know anything about it," she said. "I was drugged. Have you ever been drugged? I ended up paralysed, I couldn't see, my eyes were sealed. I have been like that ever since - I'm awake through the night."

Aerial work

Mr Hunt put it to her that she was presuming he was upstairs and presuming he did something to her.

She replied: "I can remember saying 'you're hurting me'. He was there."

Forensic examination showed the defendant's DNA was found on the victim's underwear and her DNA was on nail scrapings and finger clippings taken from him.

Mr Hunt said his client said he was in her bedroom earlier in the month when he was carrying out the aerial work.

Mr Penfold, of North Drive, could have touched her underwear left on a chair while doing the cabling, the barrister said.

The court heard on Monday that a urine sample was taken from the victim which showed a significant amount of alcohol had been taken. Traces of the drugs BZP and TFMPP were also found.

Both drugs were marketed as legal highs until December 2009, when they were classified as Class C drugs.

The trial continues.

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