A MAN accused of raping a woman after a night out in Halifax has denied “fleeing” the country afterwards.
Peter Fallows, of Brink Top Farm in Mytholmroyd is accused of attacking the 24-year-old, who cannot be named, in Delph Street in the early hours of November 17, 2007.
The 34-year-old moved to Bulgaria just weeks later on December 22 and did not return until March 2010.
He denies rape and assault by penetration and claims he has been mistakenly identified.
Under cross-examination he told Bradford Crown Court he had planned and saved for a year to move abroad, to help renovate a house his cousin had bought.
Prosecutor Andrew Kershaw asked why he had left a free home with his grandparents and £65 per week in jobseekers’ allowance to go and work for the equivalent of £50 a week.
Fallows replied: “It was an opportunity for me to go abroad and experience something different.”
Mr Kershaw asked: “Do you know whether a European arrest warrant can be executed in Bulgaria?
“It’s a big country isn’t it? Easy to hide in.”
Fallows said he did not know.
Police traced him to the country after his cousin’s friend Adrian Harrop named him. He had seen a CCTV still of a suspect in the Courier.
Mr Harrop told Bradford Crown Court Fallows sometimes wore his shoulder-length hair in a ponytail at the time - as in the picture.
He said Fallows often talked of going to Barbarella’s in Silver Street, where the victim had been before the attack.
She had given his first name to police after the incident and said she recognised him as a regular drinker at the Halifax pub she used to work at.
Fallows said he had only gone to the pub on a handful of occasions and never in the time she worked there.
He denied having ever gone Barbarella’s and said his hair was too short to be tied back.
Mr Kershaw poured scorn on Fallows’s account of how his blood got on the victim’s clothes that night. In his first interview he told officers he did not know how it could have happened.
But when questioned again in June 2010 he said he dropped a glass in The Goose, Commercial Street, and shook his bleeding fingers over a woman standing two feet away.
“It must have been the victim,” he told the court.
Fallows claims the shock of his arrest had made him forget dropping the glass at first.
Mr Kershaw said: “It wasn’t shock - you didn’t tell them because you hadn’t thought of your innocent explanation yet.”