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Man denies raping stranger saying attacker ‘could be his twin’

A man accused of stalking, choking and then trying to rape a stranger claims the attacker could be his twin brother, a court heard.

Khaled Argoub, 21, is said to have dragged the terrified woman into a park after following her off a Night Tube at Colliers Wood station, southwest London, in the early hours of August 11 last year.

There he strangled her into unconsciousness and forced her to perform a sex act on him, it is claimed.

The young woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fled naked to a nearby housing estate after clawing at her attacker, biting him and wriggling out of her jumpsuit.

Jurors at Kingston Crown Court were told Argoub’s DNA was later found under the woman’s fingernails and he was captured on CCTV following after her from the train.

But the court heard he suggested during a police interview the real culprit ‘could be his twin brother’.

Argoub denies two counts of attempted rape, three counts of sexual assault, one count of attempting to choke with intent to commit rape and one count of assault by penetration.

Describing the ‘terrifying attack’ on the woman, prosecutor Charlotte Newell said: ‘Travelling home alone from a night out in Brixton, she was followed by a male who grabbed her in a stranglehold, dragged her to a park and then subjected her to a sexual assault.’

Police managed to build up a picture of the perpetrator’s appearance and movements ‘through an extensive trawl of CCTV’.

The court heard the woman was supposed to be meeting friends in Brixton but accidentally missed her stop, instead getting off at South Wimbledon and crossing over to head back to Colliers Wood.

Her suspected attacker could be seen forcing his way through ticket barriers after her, getting on the same train and then walking out of the station a short distance behind her.

Ms Newell said the woman then noticed the same man following her along Byegrove Road as she chatted to friends on WhatsApp.

The prosecutor continued: ‘He smirked at her then ran towards her. He put her neck in an arm hold from behind and dragged her into a very dark and wooded area of the park.

‘He was choking her. She struggled to breathe and thought she was going to die.’

Ms Newell added: ‘[The young woman] had the presence of mind to consider how it was she could end the ordeal and escape with her life.

‘She stopped resisting and realised that she would need to remove her jumpsuit which was by her ankles if she was if she was to be able to run away.

‘As she did this, he was distracted. [She] took the chance to run naked to a nearby block of flats where she rang on strangers’ doorbells.’

Police and paramedics called to the scene ‘noted red marks on either side of her neck, scratches on her back and two bruises on her forehead, a cut to her lip and right foot’.

Subsequent examinations at a sexual assault clinic also revealed haemorrhaging to her eyes consistent with being choked along with bruising and abrasions to her arms, back, bottom and genitals.

Medics also recovered Argoub’s DNA from clippings taken from both of her hands, the court heard.

During an ‘unusual’ police interview just over two weeks later on August 26, Argoub ‘first said that he did not know who he was or what his name was’, Ms Newell said.

She told jurors: ‘He later claimed to have a twin but did not know when he had last seen him or contacted him. This is of course in contradiction to him telling his housemate that he had no family in the UK.’

The prosecutor added: ‘He was shown CCTV stills of the male at South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood but denied it was him and maintained that it could be his twin brother.’

The trial continues.