Acquittal on multiple rape charge

Denise Breen-Lawton, defence barrister secures acquittal for man accused of sex attacks on two women in separate incidents in Leeds.

A jury of six men and six women found Michael Cardy not guilty of rape, attempted rape and assault by penetration following a week-long trial at Leeds Crown Court. The prosecution claimed Cardy, 24, targeted the women during incidents 36 days apart, in August and September last year.

It was alleged the first woman, aged in her forties, awoke in bed in her flat in the Hunslet area of the city to find Cardy on top of her. In the second alleged incident, it was claimed Cardy pinned a young women to the ground in a park before raping her after a night out in Leeds city centre.

The jury was told Cardy was fuelled by cocaine during that incident and held his hand across the woman’s mouth and threatened to kill her.

Cardy, of Allerton Grange Croft, Roundhay, gave evidence at the trial, during which he told: “I am not a rapist.”

When asked about the first alleged attack Cardy denied forcing his way into the property as the woman slept.

He claimed he knocked on the door and the woman answered wearing only a thong before inviting him in. Cardy, of Allerton Grange Croft, Roundhay, said sexual contact between them was consensual. He said he then slept in the property and left in the morning. When asked about the second incident, Cardy told the court the woman had agreed to get into a taxi with him and had willingly gone with him into the park before they had sex.

After the unanimous verdicts were returned, Cardy, who has been held in custody since the second allegation was made, was told by Recorder Timothy Roberts he could now be discharged.

Cardy was locked up for five years 2007 after being found guilty of manslaughter but cleared of murder following a trial, which was also at Leeds Crown Court.

Cardy killed rival Darren Bradshaw, aged 17, with a kitchen knife outside the Fellmonger pub in Seacroft.

The eight-centimetre blade snapped and was left embedded in his victim’s heart.

Cardy, who was 17 at the time, had been taking cocaine and had gone to the pub to buy more when he attacked Darren.

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Denise Breen-Lawton

Denise Breen-Lawton KC

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