A MAN appeared in the witness box to deny raping a woman on the day she had an abortion.

Andrew Ford, 23, is accused of forcing himself upon her and of acting in a controlling and coercive way towards her.

At his trial at Hove Crown Court last week, the jury was told he had used a choke hold on the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Jennifer Gray, prosecuting, showed the court CCTV images of a “similar” choke hold Ford has admitted using during an attempted rape on a second woman in Pavilion Gardens, Brighton.

Ford, 23, took to the witness box where he repeatedly said he had not punched, slapped, kicked, or choked the woman.

Ms Gray grilled him for several hours about his conduct and accused him of calling the police to falsely accuse the woman of attacking him with a knife.

Instead she said Ford had punched the woman in the stomach when she was pregnant. Ford denied the claim and said he was not aware that she was pregnant.

Ms Gray accused Ford of seeing the woman as a “meal ticket”. Ford replied: “I would say you have worded that harshly.”

Ms Gray showed him a video recording of him dragging the second woman in a choke hold during the attempted rape and asked: “That’s you, and that’s the choke hold you used, isn’t it?”

“If I’m required to answer the question,” Ford replied.

“I do require you to answer it,” Judge David Rennie warned him.

Ms Gray said: “The first woman described exactly the same choke hold as the one we are seeing here.”

“If you do require me to answer, then yes, sure,” Ford replied.

Later, Judge Rennie warned Ford again about his answers and said: “You will answer if you are asked.

“You have taken an oath or affirmation to help this jury. That is what you will do. Get on with it.”

Ford was asked to explain why he was seen wandering around Brighton for two hours after 3am in June last year before the Pavilion Gardens offences that he has admitted.

He said: “I was frazzled by that point. I was drunk as a skunk, looking for somewhere to urinate or vomit.”

Andrew Ford, formerly of Bramber Way, Stanmer Heights, admitted attempted rape and false imprisonment of a woman last year, but denies rape and coercive or controlling behaviour.

The case continues.