A FORMER Dene Court resident has been acquitted of raping a woman in Andover.

It took a jury at Winchester Crown Court less than three hours to return a not guilty verdict to the charge that Troy Steven James Shanks had had sex with the woman without her consent.

The 25-year-old admitted to having intercourse with the woman, who cannot  be named for legal reasons, but denied the charge on the basis that she consented.

Rob Welling for the prosecution opened the trial on Monday and throughout the week the jury has heard evidence from both the victim and the defendant.

Following a summary of the trial by Judge Jane Miller QC the jury, made up of seven men and five women, were released to deliberate their verdict shortly before 1pm, returning a not guilty verdict at around 3pm.

The victim alleged that Shanks, whose address at the time of arrest was Dene Court, had grabbed her wrists and throat while forcing her to have sex with him.

The defendant's account of events was that they began kissing, "one thing led to another" and they had consensual sex which he believed she was enjoying.

Discussing the reliability of the victim's evidence in her closing speech to the jury, Claire Wiggett, representing Shanks said: "Was it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I say members of the jury it clearly was not."

"You may not like [the defendant], you may wish to pass moral judgement but he is not a rapist. He is not a rapist."

Concluding her address to the jury, she said: "The only verdict on the evidence is that that man is not a rapist. He is not guilty."

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