Friday 28 July 2017

Man acquitted of 'Tinder rape' threatens gardaí over 'stitch-up'

Stock photo
Stock photo

Eimear Cotter

A 35-year-old man acquitted of raping a woman he met on Tinder is in custody on other matters, the Central Criminal Court was told.

The man, who is college-educated, was found not guilty of raping his Tinder date after driving her up the Dublin mountains.

The computer expert has previous convictions for aggravated bodily harm and aggravated rape from when he was a teenager, the Irish Independent can reveal.

He also has convictions for serious assault, threats to kill and cruelty to animals following an argument with an ex-partner when he was in his early 20s. He has served lengthy sentences for his crimes, but five years ago he claimed he had taken steps to rehabilitate himself.

The accused said "thank you so much" when the jury of six men and six women delivered their verdict yesterday afternoon. He hugged his cousin and father, and started to cry.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said the man was free to go on this matter but Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, said that the defendant was in custody on other matters.

After the jury had left, he shouted at prosecuting gardaí: "You stitch-up scumbag, you stitch-up b******, you stitch-up c***", before prison officers led him away from the courtroom.

The young woman was comforted by her parents, as she was led sobbing from court.

During the trial, the accused had claimed he had "fully consensual sex" with the woman.

"At the end of the day, it's Tinder and she said she's horny," he said, adding his mindset was that they were meeting up to have sex.

The woman, in her evidence, said she was terrified of him and had to have sex with him.

The jury was told the woman was in contact with six other men on Tinder within 36 hours of the alleged rape.

She said she wanted to pretend nothing had happened.

The man had pleaded not guilty to rape at Kilmashogue Lane in Rathfarnham on September 11, 2014. It was the State's case that the accused raped the woman in his car after driving her up the Dublin Mountains.

Read More: Over 200,000 profiles prove how popular Tinder is with young Irish

The defence team had claimed her evidence was not credible. The jury heard the woman had no intention of making a complaint to gardaí, and told her flatmate it was the "worst date ever".

In her evidence, the 31-year-old woman said the pair arranged to go for "a spin and a coffee". He told her they would take the "long way back" to the city as he drove down an unlit rural road. She said that after kissing, she told him to "Take it easy". He said: "What the f*** do you think we're here for?"

She said he leaned over and pulled a lever to drop her seat back and got on top of her.

"I was afraid he was going to beat me," she said. She put her hands to his chest and said: "Seriously, stop."

He pulled her jeans down to her knees. She said she was terrified. "He lifted up my legs. I stopped resisting him then," she testified. She said he then raped her.

Afterwards, he dropped her home and later sent her a WhatsApp message with a smiley face, which she deleted.

During cross-examination, defending counsel Michael Bowman SC claimed what happened was "a consensual sexual encounter between two young people who met on the internet." The woman rejected this.

The court heard that in the 36 hours following the date, the woman had Tinder conversations with six other men.

In his Garda interviews, the accused said he "hoped" and "expected" to have sex with the woman. He asked her for a kiss and they started making out. He then lay on top of her and she "let me have sex with her".

The accused said the woman didn't say no, he didn't beat her up, or use violence, threats or force. He told gardaí he thought the woman was "a bit cold" afterwards. He wanted to hold her and be affectionate with her, but she wanted her space.

Irish Independent

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