Footballer 'twice raped sleeping woman' then sent explicit photos to teammates asking: 'Anyone want a go?', court hears

14 May 2024, 19:19 | Updated: 15 May 2024, 07:03

Michael Emery, for Warrington Rylands FC
Michael Emery, for Warrington Rylands FC. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

A footballer twice raped a woman while she was asleep and then sent explicit photos of her to his teammates asking them: 'Anyone want a go?'. a court has heard.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Michael Emery, 33, invited the woman back to his hotel room following his team Warrington Rylands FC's celebrations after their FA Vase final win at Wembley on May 22, 2021.

Emery and the woman initially had consensual sex - which she described as "vanilla" and "quite pedestrian" - before she fell asleep, St Albans Crown Court heard.

But she then awoke to find Emery biting her "really hard" on her thigh and breast - telling him "ow". She twice told him she did not want to have sex again.

Emery is then alleged to have raped her. He denies the allegations.

The woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said she "played dead" when she woke up to find him biting her and raping her for a second time.

She had drunk six or seven bottles of Moretti beer over an eight hour period earlier that evening was described in court as "merry but not drunk".

St. Albans Crown Court
St. Albans Crown Court. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Teacher Rebecca Joynes, 30, says she was ‘lonely’ and ‘liked the attention’ after admitting boy, 15, spent night at flat

Read More: Two guards shot dead and gang boss nicknamed ‘The Fly’ on the run after gunmen attack police van in Normandy

Emery - who was a reserve goalkeeper for the side - allegedly raped the woman at a Watford hotel following the Warrington side's victory.

Prosecutor Charlotte Newell KC said, opening the case: “Whilst she was asleep, Mr Emery demonstrated his total disregard for the autonomy and consent of the woman he had intercourse with by taking photographs of her naked without her knowledge and distributing them shortly before 4am amongst his teammates,” The Guardian reported.

Newell said Emery sent a photo of the sleeping woman with her breasts on display to two WhatsApp group chats, which included 70 people.

“Anyone want a go?,” he is then accused of messaging - adding a crying with laughter emoji.

Another replied in the chat: "Show us her gash."

Emery then sent another photo of the sleeping woman's vaginal area, it is claimed.

“She knew nothing of this and would never have consented to such pictures being taken. Having expressed the attitude towards [the woman] was that one could ‘have a go’ whether she consented or not. Mr Emery did just that.," Newell said in court.

“During the night, he woke her by biting her, saying that he wanted sex. She said she did not want to have sex but he went ahead regardless, putting his penis in her vagina.

"She went back to sleep and woke again to him biting her, she pretended to be asleep in the hope that he would desist, but he carried on again.”

The woman only "began to process the events of the previous night" when she returned home and “took in the sight of her bruised body".

Speaking in a police interview, played in court, the woman said: “I think that was when it first sort of hit me a bit... I was feeling quite wavy, for want of a better way of putting it. Like, just sort of out of myself.”

She then went to see her GP five days later on May 27, 2021, the court heard, when samples were taken and her bruises assessed. She was also referred to a counselling service for victims of sexual assault.

The woman decided not to report the alleged rapes to police because due to the poor success rates of sexual assault convictions, the court heard.

But she then told Warrington Rylands club chairman Mark Pye about the alleged assault as she was concerned Emery would be attached to the club's women's team.

The chairman then told her that Emery had shared naked photos of her, leaving her "in a very bad place".

“This had a very detrimental effect upon her and she contacted the Samaritans for help and resolved that if he was so brazen that he could rape her and brag about it, then she should report him,” Newell said.

Emery was reported to police two months after the alleged attacks on August 16, 2021, and the footballer was arrested in September 29, 2021.

Emery denied he raped the woman, saying in a written statement that the two had consensual sex three times, claiming that she “showed no signs of being unhappy” the following morning.

He also said he discovered bruises on his chest and groin area but made no reference to the images of the woman that he allegedly sent on WhatsApp.

Emery denies two counts of rape and a further count of disclosing private sexual photos with intent to cause distress.

The trial continues.