Scarborough rape trial: Mitko Naskov 'disappeared' from friends and was in a rush to get home

Friends of a man accused of raping a young Scarborough woman in an alleyway said he had split from their group during their night out.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 8:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 8:48 am
The trial is being held at York Crown Court

Mitko Naskov, 19, is accused of raping a woman in August last year after allegedly creeping up on her, lifting her off her feet and dragging her into an alleyway.

He denies the allegations, claiming he was not the man who raped the woman in the early hours of August 12.

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Read more: Evidence from day two of the trial

A jury at York Crown Court was shown CCTV footage from several locations in and around Scarborough town centre which appeared to show Naskov running from the scene of the attack in an alleyway off North Street.The man in the footage is shirtless and wearing a pair of Bermuda-type shorts and can be seen running down Newborough and St Nicholas Street thronged with nightclubbers.

When Naskov, a Bulgarian national, was arrested at his home in Pavilion Square about 15 hours later, police found a pair of “patchwork” Bermuda shorts and the underpants he was allegedly wearing in the hours leading up to the rape at about 3am.

On day three of his trial, Naskov took to the witness stand and insisted that the undergarments – found in a rucksack in his flat – were not his.

But he admitted that he had refused to go ahead with an intimate forensic examination while in custody.

Prosecutor Michael Collins said DNA evidence found on Naskov’s clothes and at the scene of the attack clearly pointed to the teenager being the rapist.

He cited a report by a forensic specialist who said it was a “billion-to-one” chance that the DNA was anyone other than Naskov’s.

Mr Collins said Naskov had refused to answer questions during a two-and-a-half-hour interrogation at Scarborough Police Station, which raised questions about his subsequent denials.

Naskov said he had only been in the UK for between “one-and-a-half and two months” when the allegations were made.

He had been persuaded to emigrate to the UK by a friend who promised him he would find work.One of the men who had been out with Naskov that night said that at some point, while walking through the streets, Naskov split up from them and “disappeared”.

He later saw Naskov running out of a “small, dark street”.

Naskov, called to the witness box by his barrister Laura Addy, remained calm and composed as he responded to questions through his interpreter.When asked why he had come to the UK, he said a Bulgarian friend living in Scarborough had offered him a job and he accepted because “they offered me a good salary”.“Also, they offered to pay for my flight and then I went (to the UK),” he added.Naskov said he walked straight home after leaving the casino and when asked if he raped the victim, he replied: “No. I didn’t see her; I don’t know this girl. I didn’t rape her; I didn’t rape anybody.”When asked why he was running through the town centre afterwards, he said he was “in a hurry to get home”.

When asked if there was any reason for him taking his shirt off, he replied: “No.”One piece of footage showed a man running past the back of the Brunswick shopping centre and the Pavilion Garage in Somerset Terrace. When asked if it was him, Naskov replied: “Maybe yes; I’m not sure.”

When it was put to him by the prosecution that the Crown had strong evidence that it was his DNA at the scene of the attack and on the victim, he refuted this.

Naskov claimed he was told by a friend “not to tell anyone” about the incident but vehemently denied he had anything to do with it.

When asked by why he had refused to answer police questions, he said: “I was scared and also I followed the advice I was given.”

He said he did not give “intimate” DNA samples in custody “because I don’t know what are (sic) the rights of police”, adding: “I was embarrassed – that’s why I decided not to.”When asked what he was doing between 2.50am and 3.05am - at about the time of the attack - he said: “I don’t know. I went home.”

Police custody photos of a tattoo on Naskov’s back appeared to match that of the “distinctive image” caught on CCTV as the attacker ran from the scene.But Ms Addy said that due to the poor quality of the CCTV footage, it was “impossible” to be sure what the fleeing man was wearing, “nor indeed who it is”.

Naskov denies rape and attempted rape. The trial continues.