Ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist and former Eynsfford resident Ben Leapman calls rape charges against him 'wicked, disgusting lies'

News Shopper: Ben Leapman is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court accused of rape. Picture courtesy of Mike Gunnill. Ben Leapman is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court accused of rape. Picture courtesy of Mike Gunnill.

A former Sunday Telegraph deputy news editor has denounced three rape charges he is facing as "wicked, disgusting lies".

The jury at Maidstone Crown Court has retired to consider its verdicts in the case of journalist Ben Leapman, 44, formerly of Eynsford.

The nine-day trial follows Leapman's suspended sentence last year for having illegal material on his laptop.

The court has heard how police raided his house on November 26, 2012, after which his marriage broke down and he resigned from his job.

The rape allegations were made by a women a few months later.

Cambridge-educated Leapman, who was instrumental in exposing the MPs' expenses scandal, is now on benefits and has not seen many members of his family since.

Judge Martin Joy summed up the case from the prosecution and defence today (July 10) before the jury retired to consider its verdicts on Leapman, who now lives in Vauxhall.

Judge Joy told the court: "The alleged victim said she confided in a friend, who said 'this is wrong'.

"The friend also allegedly said: 'There is a word for what's happening to you and it's rape'."

The court heard how the alleged victim had said in her testimony: "I had two conversations with him in 2012 and I told him, 'you were forcing yourself on me and you were rough' and he laughed it off and said, 'don't be ridiculous'.

"A few days later he apologised for being rough."

Judge Joy also recapped the evidence from Leapman, who denies the allegations.

Leapman had told the jury: "I never forced her.

"She said in a phone conversation, 'you know I could say you raped me'.

"It was shocking and chilling and I was staggered.

"These are wicked, disgusting lies."

The court heard police discovered logs of online conversations Leapman had taken part in with strangers in chatrooms which focused on rape and sexual violence.

Leapman told the court: "I am ashamed of the online conversations.

"I was not writing about what I wanted to do, these were fictional conversations.

"I have not seen some of my family since the police raided my home over the illegal material. This has been a desperate situation.

"I resigned from my job shortly after and am now on benefits."

The trial continues.

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