Harrogate footballer ‘raped woman in hotel while friend filmed her naked’

Simon Lenighan
Simon Lenighan

A Harrogate Town footballer joined a friend in the rape of a young woman at a hotel room, who was then filmed naked on a mobile phone, a jury heard.

Simon Lenighan, 20 of Harrogate, was a youth player with Leeds United when he is alleged to have carried out the attack with Nathan Campbell in August 2012.

Their alleged victim was naked and alone when she was woken up by a chambermaid at the Etap Hotel in Leeds the following morning and had no idea where she was or how she got there, the prosecution said.

Her mobile phone and money were missing and she alerted police who found video footage on Campbell’s mobile phone, the court was told.

Andrew Haslam, prosecuting, told Doncaster Crown Court: “When she woke up she was naked, her mobile phone and money were missing.

“The prosecution say that in that hotel room Simon Lenighan and Nathan Campbell raped her.

“We have a window into that hotel room. That window shows how the defendants treated and continued to treat her.”

Mr Haslam said a mobile phone was used to video the woman and the defendants were heard laughing as they avoided being seen on the camera.

The jury saw footage which showed the woman lying naked on a bed and intimate shots of her body.

Mr Haslam said Lenighan and Campbell met for the first time on the night of the alleged incident, August 28, as they drank in the Tiger Tiger bar in Leeds.

The woman, who knew Lenighan, had also been drinking in the bar and agreed to go back to the hotel, now an Ibis, with the two men.

Mr Haslam said friends were concerned for her safety because she had so much to drink, with one describing her as “very drunk”.

After they were arrested both men admitted having sex with the woman but claimed she was a willing partner.

Lenighan claimed they started to have sex but he realised she was too drunk and she said no.

He told her that he fell asleep and did not know what Campbell was doing.

Mr Haslam said: “The prosecution say that she was so drunk she could not give meaningful and proper consent.

“Drunken consent is still consent but if someone becomes so intoxicated their ability to choose can evaporate, it can be lost.”

When Nathan Campbell was arrested by police they found the video on his mobile phone.

Mr Haslam told the court the video “shows the utter contempt to whether she could consent or not”.

He added that Lenighan and Campbell knew “full well that what they did in the room was without the woman’s consent”.

Mr Haslam said their lies and shifting stories point towards this.

“Simon Lenighan is as you have hear a footballer and at the time he was on the books for the Under 18 team with Leeds United.

“Nathan Campbell was telling other people (in Tiger Tiger) he too was a footballer, he was not, he added.

When interviewed by police Lenighan described Campbell as “weird and arrogant”

“He said Campbell described himself as a professional footballer with a villa in Ripon,” said Mr Haslam.

When the woman rang Lenighan after the incident he told her that he had stopped having sex with her because she was too drunk. After hearing this, the woman said she would tell police that she had consented to what happened.

Simon Lenighan was arrested for rape and interviewed by police.

Later, when Campbell found out about Lenighan’s arrest, he sent a message to the woman on Facebook which said: “Are you serious?”

Campbell went on to phone the woman and tell her that he was a professional football player and that she was ruining his career.

He also told her about the video but assured her it was not embarrassing and he had to take it because he was a footballer and people may try and blackmail him.

Mr Haslam said: “She then started to apologise.”

Following these conversations the woman told Campbell that she would tell the police that the investigation should cease. However, Campbell was arrested.

The victim told police she woke up in a hotel room stark-naked apart from her bangles assuming she had been “robbed and raped”, a court was told.

The court heard from police interviews that the woman said: “I was put underneath the duvet so the cleaning lady lifted the duvet up and screamed.”

Speaking in her evidence, a taped police interview from the day after the alleged incident, she said the cleaner’s scream woke her up, adding “I had no idea why I was there, where I was”.

Looking around the room the woman noticed her phone and cash were missing, she told police.

“I just assumed I had been taken back to a hotel, robbed and raped becuase I had no clothes on,” she said.

“I had never been more terrified before,” she added.

The court heard she quickly dressed before making her way in a confused state to the reception of the hotel in Leeds, where she tried to explain the situation.

Speaking in the taped interview, the woman said she did remember seeing Lenighan, who was known to her, at the club -after 1.15am on August 29 - but doesn’t remember speaking to him.

She described herself as being very drunk that night , on a scale of one to ten she described herself as an eight and a half to nine.

She said: “It was the most drunk I can remember being in a long time.”

Lenighan, of Parliament Terrace, Harrogate, denies three charges of rape and one of perverting the course of justice.

Campbell, of Byron Street, Bradford, denies three charges of rape and one of perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.