Monday 19 August 2019

Dog walker tells of helping student after 'Tinder attack'

Stock picture: Getty
Stock picture: Getty
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A dog walker who came to the aid of a student who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a man she met through dating app Tinder has told a jury the woman was distressed and had no idea where she was.

Criona Cullen was walking her pets in UCD when the woman approached her and asked for help.

Ms Cullen told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the young woman had poor English but tried to explain to her what had happened.

She said the woman told her she had met a man on Tinder who brought her by car to the location and she did not know where she was.

Ms Cullen said the woman claimed the man tried to have sex with her, that she did not want it and had managed to get away.

The 36-year-old Dublin man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault of the woman at the UCD campus at Belfield on July 23, 2014.

Ms Cullen said she explained to the woman that she was in UCD, on the south of the city.

The woman told her she wanted to go home, and Ms Cullen said she'd help her. The pair walked to the front entrance of UCD and Ms Cullen quickly hailed a taxi for her.

Cross-examined by Paul Flannery SC, Ms Cullen said all she recalled of the woman's dress was that it was "very ordinary" and "old-fashioned".

A flatmate of the alleged victim said she called him and told him something "very serious" had happened and she'd tell him when she got home.

She needed money for a taxi, and asked him to get her purse.

He then went outside to wait for the taxi to arrive home.

He said his flatmate seemed "scared and afraid" and told him a "guy tried to rape her".

In his evidence, Sgt Denis Ellard said gardaí brought the woman to UCD and she identified an area at the playing pitches as the location where she had been sexually assaulted.

Duty manager for UCD estates Liam Corcoran told the court that UCD has the ANPR - automatic number plate recognition - system in place, and gardaí asked him to track the movements of a blue BMW car on the campus.

Mr Corcoran said he downloaded CCTV footage as well as stills of the ANPR system and handed them to gardaí.

The woman, now aged 35, previously told the trial the man picked her up and drove her to the UCD campus. He then "changed completely", becoming aggressive and sexually assaulting her.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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