A MAN has gone on trial accused of raping and sexually assaulting an underage girl in Cumbria.

Nicholas Peel, of Lapstone Road in Millom, is on trial at the Sessions House building of Preston Crown Court after being charged with four counts of rape.

The 27-year-old is also said to have committed two other sexual assaults against the same complainant.

Opening the case, prosecutor Rosalind Scott Pell told the jury that Peel allegedly began his offending by intentionally touching the complainant without her consent during the first Covid-19 Lockdown in 2020.

Ms Scott Bell said there was then a gap in the defendant’s offending until 2021.

She told the court that was when Peel allegedly first raped the complainant.

The prosecution said they could be sure about this as the victim had written a letter to her mother about what had happened. The court was told the mother never received the letter.

Ms Scott Bell told the court the girl eventually told her mother about the defendant’s behaviour in 2022 when matters were then first reported to the police.

The court was told the alleged victim was able to tell officers the first and the last time she was raped by the defendant but that she could not remember the exact dates of the other two occasions.

The prosecutor told the court the complainant told Peel repeatedly on every occasion ‘no’ and to ‘get off’ her.

She told officers that she ‘froze’, ‘did not know what to do’ and was ‘scared’ as she didn’t know what was going to happen, the court was told.

The complainant told officers she was sexually assaulted by the defendant in 2022.

Peel was stopped by police and arrested on the M6 shortly after midnight on March 28 2022.

He was interviewed later that day where he offered ‘no comment’ responses to all questions asked.

The trial continues.