A WOMAN has described how she screamed for help and struggled for her life as she was forced to the ground and raped by a man on a Hampshire footpath.

The woman’s evidence, given to police in a video interview hours after the ordeal, was played to jurors at Southampton Crown Court yesterday.

But the man accused of the brutal attack close to a railway station was not there to hear the allegations against him after refusing to attend his own trial.

Timothy Foster, who is alleged to have attacked the woman in her 50s as she walked along a footpath bordering Ashurst station, initially walked out of the dock on Monday morning as prosecutor Maria Lamb outlined the case against him.

Yesterday jurors were asked not to hold it against him as the 26-year-old again refused to attend, leaving defence barrister Christopher Amis to defend him in his absence.

The prosecution allege Foster pounced on the woman, causing her to fall and break her wrist before he raped her.

The jurors saw the woman describe, in a video-taped interview, how she was assaulted having walked down a gravel path where Foster also was walking.

She explained how she felt uneasy and had tried to turn back, saying: “I was worried about it, and I thought it was time to turn round. I turned my back, he came from behind me and leapt on me.

“I started fighting. It wasn’t long before I was on the ground, I was being manhandled, he was pawing at me. I was screaming as loud as I could to get attention.”

She then described how her wrist was put “out of action” and he put his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming before raping her.

Afterwards he dragged her to a ditch.

The woman said after the attack, he went through one of her jacket pockets, taking £2 but did not go through the other which contained her mobile phone. He then ran off in the same direction he had come from, and she dialled 999.

Jurors have heard Foster, of Westwey Road, Weymouth, was arrested minutes later near the station.

He denies rape.