A MAN acquitted of a rape in an Oxford park has said he feels his good name has been tarnished by the allegation.
Julio Dos-Santos, of Nightingale Avenue, Oxford, and Takudzwa Hunda, of Casterbridge Road, Swindon, were cleared of all charges on Monday after a six-day trial.
A jury of six men and six women took less than three hours to find them both not guilty of two counts of raping a 20-year-old student on September 11 last year and two counts of a serious sexual assault.
The jury was told the pair met the complainant at the White Horse pub in Headington and started chatting, before picking up more alcohol and driving to Bury Knowle Park.
There Dos-Santos and Hunda said they separately engaged in sexual activity with the girl, but maintained she had suddenly changed her mind and run off.
They denied the prosecution’s claims that they plied the woman with drink and raped her together in the park at around 11pm.
Following five days of evidence a jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.
As it was read out in Oxford Crown Court, the Zimbabwean-born pair had tears in their eyes and their family members and friends breathed sighs of relief.
Speaking after the hearing Portuguese national Dos-Santos, who has worked as a carpenter, said the experience had damaged the reputations of the two men.
He said: “At the beginning we were locked up in prison because of what she said we did. It was awful. We were wrongfully accused and this was the best outcome we could have hoped for.
“But it has tarnished our good names and where we come from. Now we might have to move away.”
At the time the allegations were made Dos-Santos was living with his partner and their disabled three-year-old son.
He maintained throughout the trial he had engaged with consensual sex with the woman and always treated her “with respect”.
Questioned by prosecutor Ian Acheson about why he bought her more drinks, he told the jury: “I was being polite.
“Where I come from sharing is caring. My mum always told me if a stranger comes into your house you should offer them something.”
Hunda, a British national who works for the Hartwell car dealership in Abingdon, said he did not have intercourse with the complainant.