A SOUTHAMPTON man accused of strangling and raping a woman in Bournemouth Gardens claimed to have broken hands at the time of the attack.

Luke West claimed he had broken hands while held in a police cell in connection with the attack last November.

Winchester Crown Court heard yesterday how the 29-year-old, of Warren Avenue, had complained about hand pain on November 15 last year.

West told forensic paramedic, Paul Jones who was tasked with checking on him after his arrest that he had broken both hands just two weeks before.

He is accused of rape and grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent against a 40-year-old woman in the attack in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens on November 13.

West, denies the charges.

His alleged victim was left with a fractured eye socket and needing surgery to fit a titanium mesh.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Jones said West had no bruising or marks on his hands.

Furthermore, the accused had a good range of motion in his fingers and hands.

Mr Jones said: “He did not answer [how he broke his hands].

“I began to examine them but it became awkward because West was argumentative.

“ I left him because he was talking over me the whole time and I was getting nowhere.”

According to Mr Jones, CCTV footage showed West using his hands to eat, pull up a blanket and to throw toilet paper at the CCTV camera in his cell.

Paramedic Elizabeth James later checked on West, thecourt was told.

Giving evidence Miss James said how West was moving his hands as “you usually move your hands”.

She said how West demanded to go to hospital and had said: “It will clear me from the GBH.”

As previously reported a man described finding West’s alleged victim lying beaten in undergrowth.

He told Winchester Crown Court how he was walking through the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth when he heard moaning which “sounded like someone was struggling to breathe”.

When he spotted a woman’s legs poking out from beneath some bushes he ran over and threw his jacket over her body because it was a “freezing cold” morning.

The witness described how he was frozen in shock himself but managed to dial 999.

In a police interview, the victim said someone attacked her from behind and grabbed her with both hands around her neck.

The woman added that when she started to scream but was unable to fight off her attacker.

The trial continues.