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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 16:45 GMT
Rape accused wrote to newsreader
Emily Maitlis
Mr Decoteau wrote to Emily Maitlis from prison
A man accused of raping a woman at gunpoint has told a court he enjoyed writing letters to BBC newsreader Emily Maitlis from his jail cell.

David Decoteau, 45, was jailed for 12 years for raping a 15-year-old girl on Christmas Eve in 1996.

Jurors heard how Mr Decoteau, on trial for attacking an Ann Summers employee, called Ms Maitlis his "special lady".

Mr Decoteau, of Camberwell, south-east, London, denies rape, indecent assault, robbery and false imprisonment.

He also denies a charge of possessing a handgun to commit the robbery in one of the firm's London stores in February 1996.

Feeling depressed

Earlier jurors heard how he allegedly told the 45-year-old shop worker he would "blow her brains out" before stealing 1,500.

He then raped her in a back office while customers were in the store, prosecutors claimed.

Mr Decoteau was arrested after a Home Office review of unsolved sex cases was ordered and he was linked to the attack through DNA taken at the time.

Giving evidence, Mr Decoteau said he "religiously" began watching Ms Maitlis, BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce and ITV's Nina Hossain to help him cope when his relationship ended in 2003.

'Freelance mini-cabber'

"I was feeling very depressed and I then focused on watching the BBC evening news to keep me going in prison," he said.

He admitted that he "took an interest" in Ms Maitlis, writing to her repeatedly, and in one letter told her, Ms Bruce and Ms Hossain "to keep up the good work".

Concerned by his behaviour, police made him the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. He is now banned from the BBC news centre and several parts of London.

He told the jury he had visited prostitutes in Holland, applied to be a male escort and had worked the streets as a "freelance mini-cabber" but denied having an "unhealthy interest in sex".

The case continues.




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