University Challenge contestant from Kensal Rise denies raping student

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere leaving York Crown Court earlier this month. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA W

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere leaving York Crown Court earlier this month. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Bartholomeo Joly de Lotbiniere, 21, who made six appearances on the BBC TV quiz, is accused of raping a woman at York University in 2014.

The woman told jurors at York Crown Court how Joly de Lotbiniere came into her room after they had been on a night out before forcing himself on her.

Jurors were told how the student tried pushing him off as he lay on top of her and raped her.

Prosecutor Gerald Hendron explained how, after the alleged attack, the defendant told her to “pretend this never happened”, and then said: “Tell no-one about this.”

The court heard that, two days after the alleged attack, the woman texted Joly de Lotbiniere saying: “I thought I’d let you know I wasn’t overly comfortable with what happened on Thursday night.”


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He was said to have replied: “Neither am I. I was a disgrace, I did a very stupid thing and I am very sorry for what I did.”

In a video interview she explained why she only reported the incident to police in August 2015 - more than a year after it happened.

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“It took a while to, sort of, sink in, what he did,” she said.

“Then, basically, he was on University Challenge and it was all over social media and certain tweets.”

The woman added: “I just wanted to do something about it.”

However, the former quiz show contestant insisted the encounter was “a failed one-night stand”.

Joly de Lotbiniere, the oldest of three children born in Brent, described how both he and the undergraduate felt “disappointment and regret” afterwards but insisted what took place was consensual.

He told jurors there had been sexual tension between the pair as they kissed in a corridor before moving into her room where they undressed and he performed a sex act on her.

Judy Khan, QC, defending, asked: “Was there any suggestion she didn’t want what was happening to take place?”

He replied firmly: “No.”

The court was told they continued to have sex before stopping because he was not fully erect.

Joly de Lotbiniere explained to the jury that his text messages meant he agreed with the woman, saying: “I regretted the night, that it was a failed one-night stand.”

He later told police that he “felt ashamed because I was so inexperienced, that I couldn’t properly have sex with her”.

After being charged, he told officers: “These are horrible, horrible lies.”

Joly de Lotbiniere denies rape and sexual assault.

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