A father-of-two has been cleared of raping a ‘drunk’ woman after walking her home.

A jury acquitted Damian Ray, 39, of four counts – sexual assault, rape and two counts of attempted rape – at Croydon Crown Court today (Monday, January 16), following an eight-day trial.

Mr Ray, of Beech Grove, Epsom Downs, admitted receiving oral sex from the alleged victim after walking her home from a party in 2015, but insisted it was consensual.

He had told the court he was suffering from erectile dysfunction – a side-effect of the anti-depressant Fluoxetine – at the time. Accordingly, Mr Ray deemed the oral sex “unsuccessful”, and told the court that he then masturbated for “a minute or two” because “I didn’t feel it was working for me” until he ejaculated.

“I let her do it,” he said. “I didn’t do anything back.”

After cleaning himself up, Mr Ray claims the woman asked if they were going to sex. He told the court: “I said, ‘I can’t now. It’s not possible’.

“She said, ‘That’s not fair’. She got pretty angry, and said, ‘You better go’.”

The alleged attack had taken place while Mr Ray was living at his parents’ home in Belmont following an “amicable” separation from his wife in April 2015. The separation, along with the death of his mother-in-law that same year, caused Mr Ray to be depressed, and he was taking Fluoxetine, an anti-depressant, at the time of the alleged attack.

In an initial interview with DC Lauren Powley, Mr Ray said no sexual contact had taken place. But he arranged a second interview the following day, in which he changed his account, but still denied the allegation of rape.

In court, when asked to describe how ‘drunk’ the alleged victim was, Mr Ray answered: “She was slightly unsteady on her feet.

“I would say she was slightly wobbly, but not out of control. It was possible to have a conversation with her.”

The alleged victim had said Mr Ray raped her at her house after he walked her home.

In a statement read out in court by investigating officer DC Lauren Powley, the woman said Mr Ray ‘tried to kiss her’ and groped her while she had her clothes on.

He then forced her on to the staircase and took his penis out and asked her to perform oral sex on him, the court heard.

“I pushed his penis out of my face,” the woman said in a police interview. “He then tried to escort me by my arm into the living room and I stumbled and fell on the sofa.

“I’m not sure if my leggings were down (at this stage), but I felt some movement around my vagina.”

Defending, Mrs Sarah Forshaw QC pointed out that the alleged victim, in an interview with sexual offence Haven, had initially said she was “not sure” if Mr Ray had penetrated her vaginally.

Judge Mr Nicholas Ainley rebutted that later, in an ABE (achieving best evidence) interview, the woman said: “I could feel him penetrating inside of my vagina.” Although she did not mention it explicitly at the time, the ‘vaginally penetrated’ box had also been ticked at her interview at The Havens – a specialist centre for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

Forensic examinations showed no injuries to the vagina, and no semen in her knickers or vagina. Prosecuting, Mrs Madeleine Wolfe suggested that this did not necessarily mean that penetration had not taken place.