Oyston jury inspects mansion

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Jurors were taken by coach on a 70-mile trip yesterday to visit the country mansion home where the multi-millionaire businessman Owen Oyston is alleged to have raped two teenage models.

The trial judge, Mr Justice McCullough, counsel, and court staff accompanied the jury, together with Mr Oyston, on the journey from Liverpool Crown Court to secluded Claughton Hall - a 16th century 50-roomed house, which is set in 1,500 acres in the Forest of Bowland near Lancaster.

Mr Oyston, 62, chairman of Blackpool Football Club, denies raping the two girls, both of whom were models with a Manchester agency. He denies attacking the first when she was 18, between January 1988 and December 1989, and raping and indecently assaulting the second girl, who was just 16, at the end of 1991.

The court was told last week that both were led to believe Mr Oyston could help their modelling careers.

The first model has spent nearly three days in the witness box being questioned over her claims, and is due to resume giving evidence today. The second, whom Mr Oyston is alleged to have forced into oral sex, has yet to give evidence.

The jury was driven up the narrow country lane leading to the house, described by one of the alleged victims as "like a castle". Inside, they were shown the foyer, dining room and master bedroom - which contains the antique four-poster bed on which the rapes allegedly took place - together with its adjoining bathroom.

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