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13th February 2017

University Challenge contestant accused of raping girl to ‘help her get over her ex’

Joly de Lotbiniere, a previous University Challenge contestant, is on trial for rape of another student

The police have received a report of alleged rape by a victim who saw the accused appear on an episode of the BBC television programme University Challenge.

The 19-year-old victim, who remains unnamed, accused Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere, a 21-year-old History graduate from York, of raping her in her room at the University of York student halls. The victim said the incident occurred in June 2014, but it was only after she saw Joly de Lotbiniere’s appearance on University Challenge that she went to the police in August 2015.

According to her statement documented by The Telegraph, the defendant said: “It will help you get over your ex.” She alleges that Joly de Lotbiniere also told her to “tell no one about this” and to “pretend this never happened.” The woman sent a text to Joly de Lotbiniere after the incident saying: “I thought I’d let you know I wasn’t overly comfortable with what happened”.

The defendant later replied with an apologetic text message: “Neither am I, I was a disgrace, I did a very stupid thing and I am very sorry for what I did. I just hope you can forgive me at some point and I’ll try my best not to act like a bloody 14-year-old again and start acting my age.”

Months later, when the pair met at a house party, Joly de Lotbiniere again texted the victim: “I wanted to apologise to you in person tonight. I wanted you to know I’m very sorry for what I did and that there’s no enmity between us. And that we can move on as mutual friends.”

The jury at York Crown Court were played a video interview of the victim who said she “got angry and upset” after seeing a tweet by the co-host of television show Pointless Richard Osman about the defendant, according to The Telegraph.

The woman stated: “It took a while to, sort of, sink in, what he did. Then, basically, he was on University Challenge and it was all over social media and certain tweets… I just wanted to do something about it.”

The court heard how the victim and defendant were out with a group of other students the night Joly de Lotbiniere allegedly raped the victim. He is said to have tried to kiss her a few times, and after she told him she was not interested, he followed her to her room.

The court were also told that both students were drunk, according to The Sun.

The prosecutor of the case, Gerald Hendron QC, said in court: “[Joly de Lotbiniere] took off her top, bra and trousers. She said she froze. She was telling the defendant to stop and was trying to push him off her.

“She was a small, slight girl and the defendant was much physically larger and stronger than she was.”

The jury heard from Detective Constable Adam Saggers that, according to the police interview, the defendant told officers the encounter was consensual, and his apologies via text message were because he was embarrassed at not being “good at [sex].” He also claimed that he was “not fully erect,” according to The Sun.

The cross examiner, Judy Khan QC, suggested the encounter was a “disastrous one night stand,” which the victim denies. Joly de Lotbiniere has denied two offences of sexual assault and rape.

The story is still developing as trial continues.

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