FRIENDS accused of raping a woman in her living room say she consented to sex.

Claudiu Ivascu and Nicholae Mihai are accused of taking it in turns to force themselves on the complainant.

Both deny a joint charge of rape where Ivascu - who knew the woman - held her arms while Mihai - who had never met her before - attacked her.

Ivascu, 23, also denies an individual rape charge and Mihai, 22, denies a separate sexual assault allegation.

The pair arrived at the woman’s house in Colchester on April 14 2016 after finishing their night shifts as takeaway delivery drivers.

They had been drinking beers to celebrate Ivascu’s birthday.

The complainant said she never agreed to have sex and repeatedly asked the men to stop, even at one point biting Ivascu to try and free herself.

Giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court, Ivascu, of Sycamore Road, Colchester. said the woman had consented to sex with both of them in exchange for £1,000 having declined offers of £100 and £300.

He said: “Mihai asked me whether this woman would like to have sex with him.

“Then I asked her and she accepted it.

“She answered yes for the money.”

When asked why he never gave the money to the woman, Ivascu said he had planned to hand it over the next day.

He said: “I had £300 in my car.

“I told her I would give her the rest of the money the next day.

“It was agreed before she started with Mihai.”

Ivascu rejected claims the woman may have been joking when she mentioned the £1,000 figure and said he knew when somebody was being serious.

He also said he did not have enough power to restrain the woman while Mihai attacked her, as had been alleged.

During his evidence, Mihai, of Albert Street, Colchester, accepted he spoke little English but knew the word for no and believed the woman had consented.

He said: “She didn’t have a bad reaction to me.

“She could have pushed me.

“She could have done something to let me know she did not want to.

“She did not do anything like this.”

Mihai said Ivascu, who had described him as being like a brother, had asked the woman whether it was OK for him to have sex with her.

  •  The trial continues.