Solicitor 'realised mistake after his date stripped'

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The Independent Online
A SOLICITOR believed he had received an invitation to have sexual intercourse with a female lawyer when she stripped in front of him after a dinner-dance date, an Old Bailey court was told yesterday.

But seconds after Angus Diggle approached the woman as she sat naked on a bed, he said he realised he had made a mistake. When he was arrested and accused of attacking the 25-year-old solicitor - 'Miss X' - Mr Diggle said it had been a 'nightmare'.

Mr Diggle, 37, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, has denied attempting to rape Miss X after taking her to a St Andrew's Day ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, last November. Giving evidence in his defence yesterday, Mr Diggle said he had become sexually aroused after Miss X undressed in front of him when they went to her friends' flat at the end of the evening.

The prosecution has said 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 with her and tried to have sex.

Mr Diggle told the jury that he had made to put his arm around her and she walked towards the bed. 'She very quickly took off her clothes. She ended up facing full frontal nude towards me. She stood there about 30 seconds and then went to sit on the bed with her legs slightly apart in my direction. I was surprised - pleasantly so.' He added: 'I presumed at the time she had invited me to sleep with her. I think I took it as an invitation to have sexual intercourse.'

Mr Diggle said he took off his Highland costume and went to look for a condom. 'She lay back on the bed and I got over and supported myself on my arms. I remained there about six seconds when I suddenly realised I had made a mistake. I remember thinking, 'Oh no - I have made a mistake.' I do not know what alerted me - whether she had not put her arms round me - it was something.' Mr Diggle said he had rolled off the bed on to the floor and decided to go to sleep. He denied he had persisted in physical contact when she was resisting.

A woman barrister who went out with Mr Diggle on three occasions said he was 'courteous, charming and gentlemanly'. Jane Bell, from Highgate, north London, said: 'I could not imagine him being violent towards a woman.'

The trial continues today.