Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Star Tells Jury He Has Respect for Women

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Star Tells Jury He Has Respect for Women

Article excerpt

A PROFESSIONAL rugby union player has told a jury he did not rape a woman he met on Tinder and insisted he respected women.

Zach Kibirige plays for Newcastle Falcons and is studying for a psychology degree, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

He has played for England Under-17s through to the Under-20s side, as well as the Sevens team, he told the jury.

The 21-year-old denies four counts of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration.

He was charged with subjecting the woman, who cannot be named, to a series of sexual offences over a period of about an hour after he went round to her home in November.

Kibirige's barrister, Nicholas Lumley QC, beginning the defence case, asked him: "Did you rape (the complainant)?" The defendant replied from the witness box: "Absolutely not."

Mr Lumley then asked: "Did you do anything with her against her will?" Kibirige replied: "No, I did not." Mr Lumley asked: "Did you go round to her flat to rape her? …

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