West Yorkshire Police Sergeant Ben Lister goes on trial accused of raping a woman and getting her pregnant after night out

A West Yorkshire police officer has gone on trial accused of raping a woman - who later discovered she was pregnant - after a night out more than five years ago.

Bradford Crown Court

Bradford-based Sergeant Ben Lister, 36, has denied the charge and ahead of his trial the Recorder of Bradford Judge Richard Mansell QC warned the jury of 10 women and two men not to let the publicity surrounding the Sarah Everard murder to affect their judgement.

Judge Mansell said there was no suggestion that the defendant had abused his position as a police officer to commit this offence, which he denies.

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“So it has nothing to do with the fact that he was a police officer at the time,” he told the jury.

“You must not let the publicity that is rightly surrounding the case of Sarah Everard and Wayne Couzens affect your judgement in any shape or form.”

Bradford Crown Court heard that Lister was alleged to have raped the complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, after a night out during which they had both had a lot to drink.

Prosecutor Richard Woolfall alleged that Lister had “taken advantage of a young woman who was very drunk”.

Lister, who had split up from his partner at the time, claimed that it was consensual sexual activity, but the complainant alleges that she was dragged off a sofa and the sexual activity took place when she was in and out of consciousness or sleep.

“The prosecution’s case is at no point did she consent to sexual contact with him,” alleged Mr Woolfall.

“She has no actual memory of him having sexual intercourse with her at all and if that’s right she was not in a fit state to agree to it.”

Mr Woolfall said the complainant did not realise they had had sex, but the next day she felt sore and sent a message to Lister asking if they had slept together.

Lister is said to have told her they didn’t have intercourse, but he did tell her he had performed a sex act on her.

“Why would she ask him if she they had sex if she remembered?” asked Mr Woolfall.

“Why even send that message and why would he deny to her that they had had sex if she was fully engaging in it and had agreed to it?”

Mr Woolfall told the jury that following that alleged rape the complainant had become pregnant.

He said he didn’t think he was the father of the child, but Mr Woolfall said that DNA tests provided “extremely strong support” that Lister was the father.

Lister maintained that what happened that night was consensual and he denied dragging the complainant off the sofa. He accepted he had lied in the message to the complainant saying that they had not had sex, but said it was because he was hoping to get back with his partner.

The defendant has denied a charge of rape and a further offence of assault by penetration and his trial is expected to last four days.

The trial continues.