Avon and Somerset police sergeant denies rape

Peter Lower Image copyright PA
Image caption Sgt Lower is currently suspended from duty at Avon and Somerset Police

A police sergeant charged with raping a teenage escort told her he could not afford to pay her but instead would help her with her application to join the force, a court has heard.

Sgt Peter Lower, 52, of Banwell, North Somerset, denied charges including rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment and actual bodily harm.

Bristol Crown Court heard the woman, 19 at the time, told police in 2014 about the alleged events in 2009.

Mr Lower is suspended from duty.

'Utterly besotted'

The court was told he had embarked on an affair with the woman, who had wanted to join Avon and Somerset Police.

Prosecutor Peter Coombe said: "When she was 19 she was an escort girl and the defendant contacted her by email. He said he could not afford to pay her.

"She had wanted to join the police service and in return for her services he would help her with her application form.

"Unfortunately she did not get through, but she was utterly besotted with the defendant."

The court heard Mr Lower had "physically and sexually assaulted her when they were in a relationship".

In one alleged incident in a hotel room, in Bristol, the defendant is said to have put a pillow case over her head, tied a dressing gown cord around her hands and taken her to the shower where he drenched her in water.

He is accused, on a separate occasion, of throttling the woman until she passed out.

The trial continues.

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