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Teenager 'petrified by stranger who held her'
7:10am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
A TEENAGER has told a jury how she became “petrified” after a stranger followed her in Worcester city centre and then held her waist in a tight grip.
The 17-year-old also described how she screamed on five occasions in a bid to attract attention – but no one came to help her.
She claimed Rubio Costa asked to speak to her in CrownGate shopping centre on March 12 but she ignored him and began to feel “scared and worried”.
She said he deliberately blocked her path on the High Street and told her she was beautiful before following her to the Elgar statue.
The teenager told Worcester Crown Court : “He put his arm round me in a tight grip. I panicked and screamed. “I pushed his hand off my shoulder but he put it round my waist. I was petrified. I screamed and he let me go.”
Prosecutor Jason Pegg alleged the witness was one of six girls who were the victims of sex attacks in Worcester by Costa during a fortnight in March this year.
Costa, aged 25, of Broad Street, Worcester, denies seven counts of sexual assault. He claimed he was trying to make friends and that it was normal behaviour in Portugal – where he was born – for men to be more tactile towards girls.
The witness said she eventually walked in the Cathedral plaza where Costa tried to kiss her. She screamed again and ran away but he followed and allegedly grabbed her from behind.
“I tried to block him by putting my arms up,” she said. “He was breathing down my neck.”
The teenager refused his offer to have his mobile number and walked into the Shambles. But she claimed Costa pushed her head into his chest and kissed the top of it.
Adam Western, defending, insisted that Costa did not pursue the girl but only walked with her. He claimed the pair engaged in conversation before they hugged and separated.
A 15-year-old girl was in uniform when she was approached by Costa in CrownGate as she was walking back to school on March 1, the jury heard.
She told the court he stared at her, called her beautiful and kissed her hand. His actions made her feel uncomfortable.
On March 14 she saw Costa again in Worcester’s bus station and they sat on a bench together, where he allegedly put his hand on her thigh.
She claimed he kissed her neck, rubbed his hand up and down her back, touched her bottom and put both hands inside her shirt against her skin.
She said before they parted he gave her his phone number and she saved it in her mobile.
Mr Western suggested that Costa only kissed her hand and throughout the encounter the girl was smiling.
Both teenagers – who told police they had not consented to being touched – picked out Costa at an identification procedure at Worcester police station.
The trial continues.