Leicester park rape: Accused denies causing injuries

Cedar Road play park
Image caption Doctors said the woman had suffered "shocking" life-changing injuries

A man accused of attacking and raping a woman "left for dead" in a park has told a court she had "no injuries whatsoever" when he last saw her.

Zakarya Etarghi, 24, is accused of fracturing the 50-year-old victim's skull and leaving her in a pool of blood in Leicester last August.

Giving evidence at Leicester Crown Court, he told jurors he left the park after the pair "got intimate".

Mr Etarghi, 24, denies rape and attempted murder.

The defendant, of no fixed address, said he went to a friend's house where he drank 11 pints of beer and took half a gram of cocaine.

Asked if that made him violent, he said: "No, it makes me happier."

'Wanted to stay'

Mr Etarghi said he was on his way to buy more alcohol when he walked past the park in Cedar Road, Evington.

He told the court he saw a woman and two men, and joined them because they "all seemed happy".

When left alone with the woman, he said, "one thing led to another" and they "got intimate".

"She seemed OK with it," he said.

Mr Etarghi said he offered to call her a taxi when he went home but "she wanted to stay there".

"When I left the park she had no injuries whatsoever," he added.

Image caption The victim was found in the park off Cedar Road, Leicester by a police sergeant

The victim was found naked from the waist down at about 05:00, with a deep head wound.

An ambulance technician previously told the court he believed she had been "left for dead".

A forensic scientist also said DNA traces matching the victim and Mr Etarghi were found on clothing, beer cans, and a discarded condom wrapper.

Traces of the victim's blood were also found on pieces of paper and a cigarette packet where Mr Etarghi was staying.

At the start of the defence, the jury was told Mr Etarghi was on licence from prison last year having served a sentence for robbery.

The trial continues.

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