Former York psychiatrist William Kerr had unprotected sex with a suicidal young woman by telling her it was "what she needed", a jury was told today.

The woman was about 20, alone in a strange town, and feared going through the type of depression which had put her in hospital a few months earlier, Leeds Crown Court heard.

She told the jury she had returned to Dr Kerr's surgery after having sex with him because "I didn't have anyone else to talk to in Harrogate".

The jury has to decide whether Doctor Kerr raped the woman.

The patient was giving evidence at a special "finding of fact" hearing at Leeds Crown Court, held to determine whether Dr Kerr carried out four rapes and 15 indecent assaults between the 1960s and 1980s in York, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ferrensby, Ripon and Newton-on-Ouse.

A different jury has previously decided that Dr Kerr, now 75, of Alne, near Easingwold, is unfit to plead because of mental impairment, but he has denied all the allegations under police interview.

Another woman patient told the jury that Dr Kerr told her to lie down and close her eyes - and then appeared by her side naked.

The woman alleged that Dr William Kerr performed a sex act before telling her there was no point in her - "a dirty little girl" - reporting his behaviour because no one would believe her.

She said she had gone to see Dr Kerr after falling pregnant in her late teens and needing his consent for an abortion.

The woman said she went on her own to see him at a property in Dragon Parade, Harrogate, where he was on his own.

"He asked me how many people I had slept with and how old I was when I first had sex. I told him on my 16th birthday. He said: 'You must have been a sexy little thing.'

"He said he would give me some treatment to make sure I never got pregnant again. He said something about hypnosis. He told me to go and lie down on the sofa and take my clothes off. I didn't agree (to do this).

"He said I had to close my eyes. I lay down on the sofa and closed my eyes. He said I was going to feel sleepy, which I wasn't."

She said that when she opened her eyes he was standing next to her with no clothes on, and then ran his hands up and down her arms, legs and chest and told her to relax.

"He put his hand at my throat and he was pressing me down." She alleged he then performed a sex act on her.

"It was absolutely horrendous. I was only 18. I didn't know what he was doing."

She said she ran away but could not get out of the locked front door. "There was no key. I was panicking. He came down and I shouted: 'I want to get out! I want to get out!'

"He asked me why I wanted to go. He had his clothes on again."

She said she later told a matron some of what had happened. "The matron called me a whore and said I was a disgusting, ungrateful girl. I was told by the matron not to tell the police."

She said she only reported the incident to police in the late 1990s after reading in a newspaper that a Harrogate psychiatrist was being accused of rape.

The hearing continues.