A MAN has appeared in court and denied raping a fellow Essex University student after a campus party.

Magistrates in Colchester were told Loic Arnaud, 20, believes the woman consented to sex with him.

The court was told yesterday the alleged rape happened in 2016.

Stephen Sparkes, prosecuting, said law student Arnaud travelled from his French home for the brief court hearing as he has now completed his course in Colchester.

He has been on bail since he was charged and will stand trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mr Sparkes said: “They were both students at Essex University at the time.

“It relates to the attendance of a party and sexual intercourse after attending the party and the issue is one of consent.”

He said Arnaud has completed his degree and added: “He was at the University of Essex which is where the alleged incident occurred.”

Defence solicitor Annabel Timan added Arnaud is now studying public law in France and the case “has been hanging over his head for two years”. The court heard despite the seriousness of the alleged offence, prosecutors did not have concerns over whether Arnaud, who studied in England for three years, would attend court again if bailed.

Chairman of the magistrates Michael Ferrier told Arnaud, of Rue de Pazzi, in Lyon: “You are being sent for trial at crown court sitting at Chelmsford on April 3.

“In the meantime you are on unconditional bail.”