Wednesday 26 July 2017

Trial of man accused of raping student he met on Tinder hears young woman returned home 'shaking, pale and hunched over' after alleged attack

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A woman has told the Central Criminal Court that a man who she met on the dating app Tinder raped her in the Dublin mountains on their first date.

The Louth man (36) has pleaded not guilty to rape at Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin on September 11, 2014.

The alleged victim told Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, that after matching on Tinder the pair exchanged messages on Whats App, with the accused sending up to 20 messages to her within a 24 hour period.

The 31-year-old woman, who was a university student at the time, said the accused “sounded cross” when she cancelled their first arranged meeting at short notice.

However a subsequent date was arranged for September 11 and an arrangement was made to go for “a spin and a coffee.”

She said he told her they would take the “long way back” to the city as he drove down an unlit rural road. He stopped the car and said: “I wouldn't abandon you in the mountains.”

She said that after a brief kissing session she asked him to “take it easy”. He said to her then “what the f*ck do you think we're here for?”

She said she didn't want a “one night stand” and she left his car after he told her to “get the fuck out”. She got out and he drove off. She took out her phone to ring a friend but there was no signal.

The car disappeared from sight but the car returned a few minutes later and stopped by her. The man told her “it's grand, get in” and she got in because she felt like she didn't have a choice.

She said she didn't know where she was and he seemed a bit calmer.

He drove the car back to where they had been and he stopped the car. He turned off the car lights and they were in complete darkness, she said.

He began kissing her again. She told him to take it easy. He leaned over and pulled a lever to drop her seat back and moved quickly to get on top of her.

She said he was cross and was in a completely different mood to earlier in the night.

“I was afraid he was going to beat the sh*t out of me,” she said. The witness said she put both her hands to his chest and said “seriously, stop”.

He pulled her jeans down to her knees, she said, and she said she was terrified.

“He lifted up my legs. I stopped resisting him then,” she testified. She said the accused then raped her.

Afterwards he said: “That was sh*t. I would have last longer if you hadn't teased”.

He dropped her home and she said the accused sent her a Whats App with a smiley face, which she deleted.

During cross examination, defending counsel Michael Bowman SC put it to the complainant that while the date did not go as anticipated, she “willingly undressed herself” and had sex with the accused.

“It was a consensual sexual encounter between two young people who met on the internet,” he said. The woman rejected that this was what took place.

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

She acknowledged that she had gone to college the next day and resumed her activity on Tinder because she wanted to pretend that the alleged rape hadn't happened.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Butler and a jury. Both the accused and the complainant are entitled to anonymity throughout the trial.

Several examples of “sexting” between the accused and the complainant were read out to the jury by Mr Bowman. The court heard that the accused sent the alleged victim semi-naked pictures of himself.

Mr Bowman said to the alleged victim that she omitted to tell gardai she had gotten out of the accused's car in her initial statement and only told them this information two weeks later.

“I remembered it but I was upset and I just didn't say it,” she replied.

Referring to data recovered from the complainant's phone by gardai, Mr Bowman told her “You went on Tinder the morning after the date with the accused."

The complainant told Mr Bowman that she never met up with the six men she spoke to on Tinder in the 36 hours after the alleged rape. Her activity on Tinder ceased once she handed her phone over to gardai a couple of days later.

Reading from a transcript of communications, Mr Bowman said that during an online conversation with one Tinder match the complainant told him “I definitely have a naughty side.”

The woman agreed with Mr Bowman that she had used other internet dating websites in the past and had exchanged “sexually loaded” messages with different men.

She told the court that the accused had texted her several times in the days leading up to their date.

However, Mr Bowman said the complainant had given gardai the wrong impression in saying that the accused “bombarded” her with texts, and said she had responded to nearly every text he sent her.

Mr Bowman also told the alleged victim that despite her telling gardai that the accused had suggested meeting at short notice it was in fact she who suggested the initial date, which was later postponed.

“It was your friend who reported the alleged rape to the gardai, it was your friend who arranged your visit to the doctor and it was your friend who gave the gardai the clothes you wore the night you met the accused,” Mr Bowman said.

The court also heard from the complainant's friend and housemate who told Mr Owens that the alleged victim rang her while in the accused's car on her way home.

“She sounded very shaken, so I waited up for her to come home.” she said.

The witness described the alleged victim as “shaking, very, very pale, in desperate shock and hunched over” when she arrived back to their home after her date with the accused.

“She said to me 'I had to do it, I had to have sex with him',” the witness told Mr Owens.

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News