Rev Canon Paul Overend: Ex- chaplain 'does not remember' sex assault 'victim'

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Image caption,
Rev Canon Paul Overend (right) was priest at St Teilo's church in Cathays in 1997

A former university chaplain accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old student 23 years ago has told a court he "had no recollection of her at all".

The Rev Canon Paul Overend, 54, now of Lincoln, was the Anglican chaplain at Cardiff University when the alleged offence happened at a party.

On Tuesday, Newport Crown Court heard Canon Overend followed the complainant into the kitchen of the chaplaincy on Park Place, where he assaulted her.

He denies indecent assault.

Canon Overend stepped away from his job as Canon Chancellor at Lincoln Cathedral when the allegations were made in April 2019.

On Tuesday, the complainant said she had been "frozen solid" during the assault, which ended when someone else came into the room.

She said Canon Overend had kissed her arms and shoulders and asked her to go upstairs to his flat.

When asked by Simon Kitchen, defending, if he had ever acted inappropriately towards the complainant, he said: "I did not."

Image caption,
The alleged assault happened in the kitchen of the Cardiff University chaplaincy on Park Place

The court heard Canon Overend, who was also vicar at St Teilo's church in Cathays at the time, dressed more casually than his predecessor, wearing an earring and no dog collar.

When asked by Harry Baker, prosecuting, if this "blurred the boundaries" of his role, Canon Overend said he "had to come across as a peer".

When Mr Baker asked him if he had committed the assault, Canon Overend said "it did not happen".

Image caption,
Canon Overend is on trial at Newport Crown Court

A friend of the complainant also told the court, via video link, that the complainant had told her she had been inappropriately touched by a previous chaplain at the university.

She said she made a diary entry from 5 December 1996 which said a previous chaplain "kept touching (the complainant) up" at a surprise party to mark his departure as the Anglican chaplain at the university.

She added the complainant had not been upset by the incident.

The trial continues.