A circus performer accused of sexually assaulting two women as they walked alone in Preston city centre, 14 years apart, told a jury: “I’m not a beast.”
Paul Barbarel, 32, denies two counts of sexual assault after DNA taken from both victims linked him to the attacks in 1999 and 2013.
Following his arrest for the first incident, in which a student told police she was dragged down an alleyway by a man who grabbed her from behind, Barbarel told officers he was working for a circus in Ireland.
However he later admitted he had slapped a woman after she assaulted him for whistling at her and “must have caught my hand on her teeth or jewellery”, leaving blood splatters on her jacket.
He explained his DNA linking him to an alleged attack on a prostitute in 2013 by claiming he had engaged in a consensual sex act with her in an alleyway.
However Barbarel, of Chorley Road, Walton-le-Dale, insisted he had never sexually assaulted anyone.
Cross examining the defendant, Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said: “There are two victims in this case - the first in 1999, who you stalked, grabbed her by running up behind her and locking her in your hands then dragging her down an alleyway so you could sexually assault her, because that is what you do, isn’t it?”
Barbarel replied: “I’m not that kind of person.”
Mr Haworth said: “I suggest you are.”
To which Barbarel replied: “I’m not a beast. I don’t go around staking people.”
Mr Haworth said: “I am suggesting you do. You sexually attack women in the early hours of the morning, when they are alone, when they are in isolation, when they can’t defend themselves.
“You appear behind them in the darkness and drag them into a secluded alleyway. You have been doing it since 1999.”
Barbarel replied: “No I don’t.”