Sex case lawyer 'became amorous': Court told that man accused of attempted rape did not get impression he was being rebuffed

A SOLICITOR told an Old Bailey jury yesterday how his date to dance Scottish reels with a woman lawyer at a St Andrew's Day ball led to him becoming drunk and amorous.

He said he believed that he kissed the 25-year-old woman on the lips and put his arm round her during the course of the evening.

But Angus Diggle, 37, of Bromwich Street, Bolton, Greater Manchester, has denied attempting to rape her after they returned to a flat in Earls Court, west London, where she was staying with friends.

The prosecution has alleged that 'Miss X' allowed him to return to change and have coffee before they both caught early trains. But after she fell asleep in bed Mr Diggle is alleged to have got in and tried to have sexual intercourse. She pushed him off.

Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Diggle said that he put on full Highland dress before meeting Miss X for the ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel in November last year.

Mr Diggle told the court he had invited Miss X - whom he had met a month before - to the ball because he wanted a dance partner. He was looking forward to the dancing. 'It was the main point of going. It was crucial in a way that she could dance because I wanted a dancing partner.'

He said a week before the ball Miss X told him he could go back to her friend's flat afterwards. Then she called to say she had sprained her ankle and would be unable to dance.

She arrived not appearing to have any problem with her leg, he said. But then she ordered a whisky as her first drink.

'I wanted to dance - I did not want it to be a drinking evening,' Mr Diggle said. He danced twice with Miss X and during the evening, which ended in the early hours, they drank whisky, champagne and wine.

Asked by Michael Borrelli, counsel for the defence, what effect the drink had had, Mr Diggle replied: 'I suppose I became more amorous towards her.' He added: 'But I never remember getting the impression she was rebuffing me.

'The invitation back to the flat had been given a while before and not rescinded. She took me back.'

They left the ball about 3.45am. Mr Diggle told the court: 'We were both fairly drunk. I can remember collecting my luggage from the cloakroom. The next thing I remember is being at the flat. I cannot remember getting to the flat.' He explained that he had been up for more than 20 hours and had drunk a lot.

The trial continues today.

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