A woman who claims to have been with rape-accused Luiz da Silva Neto on the night he allegedly kidnapped, drugged and sexually assaulted his second ‘victim’ said the man was lying.

Melissa Almeida told jurors at the 35-year-old’s trial at Oxford Crown Court this morning that she travelled down from London to rural west Oxfordshire in the early hours of December 10 last year.

On the defendant’s account, the alleged victim was said to have been ‘making advances’ towards her in the car on the drive down from the capital.

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Once in the Middle Barton cottage, the man was said to have been in da Silva Neto’s bedroom, where the pair allegedly performed sex acts on each other.

Ms Almeida corroborated the defence account when she took to the witness stand on Friday in support of her friend.

She said ‘Luiz’ had come upstairs from his bedroom, where he was with the complainant, to help her ‘clean’ the Cotswolds cottage. The countryside retreat, which is owned by da Silva Neto’s partner, was due to be hosting guests later that day.

 Quizzing the woman, defence barrister Merry van Woodenberg said: “Are you lying for your friend or are you telling the truth, Ms Almeida?”

She replied: “I’m telling the truth.”

“From your perspective and what you saw of [the second complainant] on that night, what do you say to the suggestion he was being kidnapped that night when he was being taken to Oxford?”

“Everything he was doing he knew exactly what he was doing. He was very conscious of what he was doing,” Ms Almeida said.

“What do you say to the suggestion he was raped that night or assaulted, from what you saw?”

She replied: “That he is lying. Nothing of that happened.”

Yesterday, the defendant was asked why he had not mentioned ‘Melissa’s’ presence when he was interviewed by the police last December.

He told the jury he was concerned that his friend would be arrested by the police. She was due to fly to America on holiday, he said.

On Friday, Ms Almeida confirmed that she planned to go to see a friend in San Diego. She had thought about going over Christmas but work commitments meant she could not go until February. In the end she did not go.

Da Silva Neto, of Riverlight Quay, Wandsworth, denies administering a substance with intent and engaging in penetrative sexual activity without consent with two men. He is accused of the rape and kidnap of the second man against whom the defendant is accused of committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence. The trial continues.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward