AN AUSTRALIAN living in Stratford broke down in the dock when a jury unanimously cleared him of rape charges in under an hour.
Former navy chef Douglas Baddams, 28, faced accusations he raped a woman in the stairwell of her building after walking her home from a town bar on September 6 last year.
Following a four day trial at Birmingham Crown court he was acquitted of two counts of rape and two other sexual assault charges against the woman.
He was also cleared of two charges of sexual assault it was alleged he committed against another woman on a separate occasion.
Mr Baddams thanked the jury of five women and six men for their verdicts while family members who flew from Australia to support him also broke down when the verdicts were returned.
During the trial Mr Baddams said the description of him as a sexual predator was “the biggest lie I’ve ever heard.”
At the opening of the case Robert Underwood, prosecuting, told the jury; “The crown say this defendant is a sexual predator, an individual who is not prepared to take no for an answer.”
Mr Underwood said there was a marked difference in seriousness between the allegations of rape and the earlier allegations of sexual assault.
But he said the allegations painted a picture of “an individual who does not read signals when someone is clear.”
The court heard the alleged rape took place after Mr Baddams met the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in Bamboodle Bar on Union Street.
Both had been drinking with friends and told the court they were drunk.
It was said after walking the woman a short distance home the pair kissed but, when the woman tried to go into her building, Mr Baddams followed her and raped her twice in the stairwell.
But in his evidence to the court, Mr Baddams denied the pair had sex and told the court they had kissed and touched each other before the woman said she wanted to go no further.
At that point he said he left, had a cigarette outside before cycling home.
Asked about being described as a sexual predator, Mr Baddams told the court: “That’s the biggest lie I’ve ever heard.
“It’s a horrible thing to say and it’s not true.”
Breaking down as he described being arrested and giving intimate swab samples from his body, Mr Baddams told the jury: “I’ve never been through such a shock in my life.
“I was happy to give them to them because I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.”
Remanded into custody since his arrest, he went on: “I’ve had seven months sitting in a jail cell with nothing else to think about but that night.
“I remember every detail.”
Asked why he stopped after the pair had been getting intimate, Mr Baddams said: “She asked me to.”
During her evidence the complainant said she had not invited any attention from Mr Baddams when the pair were both drinking in Bamboodle.
But CCTV showed them together inside and outside the club before the pair left, arm in arm as he walked her home.