York & North Yorkshire

University Challenge contestant denies rape

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere Image copyright PA
Image caption Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere represented the University of York on University Challenge

A former contestant on the BBC quiz show University Challenge has insisted he did not rape a fellow student.

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere, 22, allegedly attacked the 22-year-old woman in her University of York halls of residence in 2014.

Bradford Crown Court heard the woman was prompted to report the allegation after his TV appearance in 2015.

Mr Joly de Lotbiniere, from London, denies rape and assault by penetration.

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Giving evidence at Bradford Crown Court, he said his sexual encounter with the woman was an embarrassment because he failed to perform.

When asked by his barrister Judy Khan QC "did you rape [the woman]?", he replied "no".

'No negative reaction'

He said he and the woman had been part of a group drinking in York and then returned to her hall of residence where they started to kiss before he fetched a condom.

He said he struggled to get an erection and they agreed to stop.

"There was no point going any further. We both just agreed to stop. I think she said 'let's just stop'," he added.

He insisted that the woman did not try to stop him or push him away.

"There was no negative reaction from her. If she had, I would have stopped," he said.


He also denied saying "pretend this never happened" to the woman.

He was asked about text messages between him and the girl in which she said she was not "comfortable" with what had happened.

Mr Joly de Lotbiniere's replies included one saying: "I was a disgrace, I did a very stupid thing and I am very sorry for what I did.

"I just hope you can forgive me at some point. I'll try not to act like a bloody 14-year-old again and start acting my age. Sorry."

He insisted this was merely due to his embarrassment over what happened.

He said it was only his second sexual encounter and he had tried to pretend he was comfortable with a one night stand which he was not.

The trial continues.

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