A soldier accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in a car has been cleared by a jury after his barrister suggested the girl could be a “drama queen.”
David Woodman-Wilcock, 21, was home from service in Jordan only to find himself the subject of serious criminal allegations which could have ruined his career after offering the girl a lift home.
Woodman-Wilcock, of Waterdale Close, Bridlington, insisted he had done a good deed after he had driven out for a “greasy” burger while home and then meeting a girl.
Within minutes of dropping her off, she had dialed 999 claiming he had tried to kiss her. He was arrested and interviewed at Bridlington Police Station.
Despite protesting his innocence, he was forced to wait 19 months before a jury to clear him of two charges of sexual assault after a three-day trial at Hull Crown Court.
Giving evidence to the jury Woodman-Wilcock was asked: “Did you attempt to kiss her, squeeze her thigh, or sexually assault her in any way?” He replied “No.”
Woodman-Wilcock told the jury he grew up in Halifax and joined the Army in 2011 and in the meantime his parents moved to Bridlington. He said he got home for 10-12 days - three times a year.
He said on April 14 2014 he bought a Ford Focus for £200 as a cheap run around while he was on leave. He said it was not taxed, insured and had no MOT, but he took it out for a test run and met the girl after she got off from work.
He said he was inspecting under the bonnet when he saw the girl asked him for a lift home. He said he drove on to an industrial estate in Bridlington and parked near some bushes after spotting a parked police car. He feared he would be stopped and said he told the teenager his car was over-heating.
“I did not tell her the real reason,” said Woodman-Wilcock. “I was more embarrassed, that I was driving a vehicle without insurance.” He said that must have alarmed the girl, but she said nothing about it to him even after dropping her off.
Defence barrister Stephen Littlewood said the evidence came down to one word against another, the were no independent witnesses or CCTV. He said there was no suggestion Mr Woodman-Wilcock had stalked her and it was a case of a good deed going wrong.
He said the girl had a boyfriend who was easily made jealous and she had made the complaint because she feared what he would say about being given a lift home by another man.
Mr Littlewood said: “You have seen her give evidence. Is she someone who likes to embellish stories or a bit of a Drama Queen?”
“Given everything you have heard, you only really have two people’s word about what went on. Why did she not get out the car when she could? My submission is on the evidence you have heard, you cannot be sure. If you cannot be sure, you must acquit.”
Mr Woodman-Wilcock walked free from court.