Former York student who appeared on University Challenge cleared of rape

Danny Lawson / PA Wire
22 Sep 2017 @ 1.54 pm
| Crime, News

A former York student who appeared on University Challenge has been cleared of raping a woman in her York halls of residence.

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere, 22, was found not guilty of charges of rape and assault by penetration following a retrial at Bradford Crown Court.

He told the court the consensual sexual encounter with his fellow student in June 2014 was an embarrassment because he failed to perform.

The woman, now 22, went to police after seeing Joly de Lotbiniere on the television programme a year later.

She said she saw a tweet by Pointless host Richard Osman about the defendant’s name and “just got angry and upset”.

‘Horrible lies’

During the five-day trial, the jury was told how the woman alleged the defendant had sex without her consent in her room at the University of York after a night-out at the end of the academic year.

Mr Joly de Lotbiniere denied raping the woman and told police “these are horrible, horrible lies”.

He described to the court how he and the woman were part of a group that had gone out drinking in York and had returned to the woman’s hall of residence in the early hours of the morning when the pair started to kiss.

Bradford Crown Court. Photograph © Bing Maps

He said he went to fetch a condom and then went into her room.

Mr Joly de Lotbiniere described sexual activity between him and the woman, but said he struggled to get an erection and the pair made a mutual decision to stop what they were doing.

He said: “There was no point going any further. We both just agreed to stop. I think she said ‘let’s just stop’.”

The defendant said he was embarrassed by what happened and just wanted to leave.

Sobbed at the verdict

Mr Joly de Lotbiniere denied the woman had tried to push him off or had shown any signs she did not want to have sex.

He said he later sent the woman a text saying he “did a very stupid thing” and was sorry because he was embarrassed about his failure to perform sexually.

He said he had only had sex once before and had tried to portray himself to the woman as someone comfortable with a one-night-stand, when he was not.

The jury of seven women and five men took six hours to find Mr Joly de Lotbiniere not guilty.

The former history student, who was comprehensive school educated and has appeared on BBC TV quiz show University Challenge about six times, sobbed in the dock with a handkerchief pressed to his eyes as the verdicts were read out.

He hugged his family in the public gallery before leaving the court room and declined to speak to reporters outside court.

Mr Joly de Lotbiniere, of Kensal Rise, London, faced a retrial after the jury at his original trial at York Crown Court in February were unable to reach verdicts.