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Victim who sued man over rape 'shocked' at his bankruptcy

Stephen Coxen was successfully sued for £80,000 following the incident in St Andrews, Fife.

Stephen Coxen is now bankrupt.
Stephen Coxen is now bankrupt. PA

A woman who successfully sued a man for raping her has said she is "shocked" after he declared himself bankrupt.

Stephen Coxen was sued for £80,000 in a civil court following the incident in St Andrews, Fife, on September 2013.

The 23-year-old had previously faced a criminal trial but the case was found not proven.

He admitted he had been "rude" towards the woman on the night in question and that their time together became upsetting.

But a sheriff in a civil action then ruled Mr Coxen raped the former St Andrews University student, known as Miss M, and demanded he pay damages.

It has now emerged Coxen, from Bury in Greater Manchester, declared himself bankrupt in February.

'It was a shock and I had a lot of mixed emotions and a small part of me always believed he might do this and to be honest it shows the kind of person he is.'
Miss M

Speaking to STV News, Miss M said she was initially shocked but had a feeling her attacker would declare himself bankrupt.

She said: "Initially my solicitor contacted me and said she had some information she needed to discuss.

"She disclosed that Stephen Coxen had made himself bankrupt and she had been contacted by a creditor for the bankruptcy.

"It was a shock and I had a lot of mixed emotions and a small part of me always believed he might do this and to be honest it shows the kind of person he is - he is the man who raped me.

"I'v spent five years fighting against him so nothing really surprises me now."

Coxen was visiting his friend Dominic Hurst in St Andrews and went out with friends to the Lizard Lounge.

He said he was in the smoking area of the club when the alleged victim tapped him on the shoulder and began kissing him.

His victim said she was upset by the case but said she doesn't know if her attacker had always planned to declare himself bankrupt following the result.

"I was upset initially and then wondered what my family would think as they have supported me closely," she said.

"We are still working out what the bankruptcy means but we're in a position we might be able to force through a decree when his bankruptcy has ended.

'When I started the case, it was always very clear it was highly unlikely I was going to get any money from Stephen Coxen, even when he made himself bankrupt.'
Miss M

"All we know is he declared bankruptcy shortly after the civil case had closed.

"I can't second guess what he's thinking but it was a shock.

"When I started the case, it was always very clear it was highly unlikely I was going to get any money from Stephen Coxen, even when he made himself bankrupt.

"It saddens me that people think I'v done this for an £80,000 decree."

Sheriff Robert Weir said the evidence from the woman, who is now 23, had been "cogent, compelling and persuasive".

The court ruling said: "In the early hours of Saturday September 14, 2013, accordingly, the defender took advantage of the pursuer when she was in an intoxicated state by reason of the amount of alcohol she had consumed, resulting in a lack of capacity to make free agreement, that he continued to do so even after she manifested distress and a measure of physical resistance, and that he raped her."

The case is thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland - and campaigners say many other rape victims are considering civil action as they feel let down by the criminal system.

He said he was "really shocked" in 2014 when he initially found out the claim was being made against him.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1431627-woman-wins-80-000-damages-from-man-cleared-of-raping-her/ | default

Coxen denied the charges and in November 2015 a jury found the case against him not proven, a verdict of acquittal.

His alleged victim, known as the pursuer in the case as she cannot be named for legal reasons, brought a landmark civil action to the Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh.

Last year, Denise Clair won a civil rape action against footballers David Goodwillie and David Robertson.

Unlike Coxen, they didn't face a criminal trial, but a judge in the civil court found the rapes had taken place and awarded Ms Clair £100,000 in damages.

David Goodwillie: The footballer's victim was awarded £100,000.
David Goodwillie: The footballer's victim was awarded £100,000.

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