Sam Obeghe, 26, a Nigerian Student was falsely accused of rape by a 21 year-old shop assistant after she encouraged a sexual act during a drunken night only to grow hysterical on realizing she wasn’t having sex with his white friend, Zack Garrigan.
While enduring seventeen months before his case got to trial, Sam was unanimously acquitted after twenty-seven minutes deliberation by a jury of five women and seven men who found him not guilty of rape.
The incident occurred on December 5, 2014 when the woman – known as Miss X – was on a night out with a female friend in Bolton and joined Obeghe (then 24 ) and his friend Zack – who was celebrating his birthday for drinks.
Both women met Sam and Zack in a bar and decided to drive back to Sam’s flat in the early hours of the morning. Miss X was already intoxicated and attracted to Zack as they immediately began kissing when they got to Sam’s apartment and headed to his bedroom to have sex.
Miss X said they hadn’t had sex yet as Zack had gone out to get Viagra and she fell asleep. She informed the court that she was woken up by a man whom she thought was Zack and they began having sex.
I was saying Zack’s name because I thought it was him I was having sex with. The person hugging and kissing me didn’t feel any different.
I thought this was Zack, I called his name four or five times. It went on for a couple of minutes until I put my hands through his hair and realized it was not Zack but was Sam. I was screaming ‘what are you doing’ he ran out of the room.
I was embarrassed and ran out. Zack was asking what was wrong, I was just saying that I needed to get out.”
Miss X got home and informed her mother who called police.
The University of Salford Economics student was subsequently arrested three-hours later in his pyjamas.
Sam told the court during his trial:
“I could tell she was drunk – her and Zack were the same,” he said. “Music was playing and they were kissing and then went into my bedroom.
I sat there thinking ‘what have I done’ bringing them back here because I had work the next day. I saw Zack coming out, first naked and I was saying ‘come on I need to go to bed.’
I asked him ‘are you guys leaving?’ but he was not really paying attention to what I was saying and I said ‘I’m going to go and get her out.’
I walked into the bedroom sat on the bed and started nudging the woman saying ‘go and meet Zack in the living room’. At first I lay there thinking ‘finally I can go to bed’ but she grabbed me.
I was just thinking ‘I didn’t really want to have sex with her’ but I’m a human being and if you get touched like that you have a motivation to move on. I figured she was probably very drunk but she grabbed me saying ‘come on Zack’ then I realised she’s thinking I’m Zack so I jumped off the bed and jumped out of the room.
I went into the living room and told Zack: ‘Man you will not believe what she’s just done’. Zack was sort of laughing and then I saw her storming out and she was screaming. I was in shock. I didn’t climb on top of her and kiss her.”
Ian Robinson, Sam’s lawyer said: “For the past 17 months, Mr Obeghe has been accused of a most serious allegation. For a young man of good character, he has found the whole process difficult to deal with.
This has been a most traumatic ordeal for him. His health has suffered, his university studies have been affected and given the shameful nature of the allegation, he has been unable to confide in his close friends and family.”