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Occupy London protester cleared of rape in tent at St Paul's Cathedral


A protester at the Occupy London camp site at the foot of St Paul's Cathedral has been cleared of raping a woman in one of the tents.

Malcolm Blackman, 46, thanked the judge after he was discharged when the Old Bailey jury found him not guilty of two rapes.

The court heard Mr Blackman struck up a "relationship" with the woman at the tent city in December 2011.

She said he attacked her twice in her tent in January but waited six months to report it to police.

Mr Blackman, of Gloucester Street, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, denied the allegations.

He told the jury that he did not go into the woman's tent to attack her.

"That simply did not happen," he said.

He stated the woman was angry about a new relationship he had started with another protester.

He said that after a day's demonstrating on 28 January outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square and in Piccadilly Circus he, the complainant and other members of Anonymous UK, returned to camp for a party.

He said after drinking beer and whisky he went to their tent for some "peace and quiet".

He had previously told the complainant he was not interested in a long-term relationship and they were "moving too fast", he said, and tried to avoid her attempts to discuss the matter.

Mr Blackman, who took on a leadership role within the group doing media interviews and patrolling the grounds, said the woman entered the tent and tried to talk about their relationship.

"She said 'I want to talk about us, can we talk about us?"' he said.

"I said 'For Christ's sake, can I get some peace please?'

"I wanted to leave.

"I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the situation.

"I wanted to leave but I was prevented.

"She shoved me back with both hands."

Mr Blackman said she shoved him again and he had to call out for help to leave the tent.

He said he did not return to the tent and went home to Somerset until February 7 when he came back to the camp.

He said he eventually left for good on February 26

Outside court, Mr Blackman said he did not think the case should have been brought.

"There was never any evidence of crime," he said.