Tuesday 20 August 2019

Man accused of sexually assaulting date claimed he was a porn star and wanted her to star in film with him, court hears

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Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A FORMER UCD student accused of sexually assaulting his Tinder date told gardai he believed they were hooking up for sex because he had told her he was a porn star and wanted her to star in a film with him.

The 36-year-old has denied sexually assaulting the woman, claiming that she "freaked out" and "started crying" when he leaned over her in his car and tried to kiss her.

He told gardai that he drove his BMW to a secluded area of UCD and when he tried to kiss her, "the poor girl freaked out completely" and he "trying to tell her to calm down".

The Dublin man has pleaded not guilty before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault of the woman at the UCD campus at Belfield on July 23, 2014.

The woman has alleged that the accused touched her thighs, forced her to kiss him on the lips, punched her on the head, called her a "f*cking b*tch" and pulled down the top part of her dress and exposed her breast.

The jury heard the accused was interviewed on two occasions by Sergeant Denis Ellard and Garda Declan Ryan on September 16 and 17, 2014.

In the interviews, the accused told gardai he had been talking to the woman for at least four weeks before they met up.

He said he picked her up in the city centre, and drove out to UCD, to a secluded area. There was "more or less no conversation at all" in the car.

He was hoping they would "make out and maybe have sex", the jury heard, though he told gardai there was "no pre-arrangement" to have sex.

The accused said he believed they were probably meeting for sex because he had told her on Tinder that he was a porn star.

He said this was obviously banter, but she seemed quite interested in his job. He also told her he would like her to star in a film with him, and he claimed she told him "that interests me very much".

Read More: Woman did not not tell gardai about eight minutes spent with Tinder date before alleged attack, court told

He said he drove to a secluded area in UCD and leaned over to kiss her. She told him it was too soon and she did not know him.

"I did try and kiss her and when she asked me to stop and pushed me off I stopped immediately", he told gardai.

He said she then "freaked out completely" and started crying. She asked to leave so they left, he said.

He drove through the campus, and asked her to get out of the car because she was freaking out.

The accused told gardai that she started crying more because she did not know where she was, and begged him not to throw her out of the car.

He said he pulled into a field to talk to her and calm her down. The door was locked and she pulled it to open it. He told her "jesus, will you relax".

He was thinking "what the f**k, it's like a mad, mad situation", he told gardai.

She got out of the car and he drove off.

In the interviews with gardai, he denied he hit her, forced her to kiss him or sexually assaulted her. However, he said he may have "brushed off her cheek with his lips" when he leaned in to kiss her.

Read More: Woman allegedly sexually assaulted by man she met on Tinder was distressed and had no idea where she was, court hears

In his closing speech, prosecutor Paul Burns SC told the jury the accused was innocent until proven guilty.

Mr Burns told the jury that if they were satisfied that what the woman had told them had indeed happened then there was no doubt it was a sexual assault.

He also said the accused's version of events was "just not credible".

Mr Burns said the accused, in his garda interviews, had "cynically tried to downplay what had happened in the car" by claiming his "lips, his hand may have brushed off her".

He said the jury may believe the woman was naïve or even foolish, but that did not give someone the right to sexually assault her, and she had been subjected to a "frightening and violent sexually assault".

Defence counsel Paul Flannery SC will give his closing speech this afternoon and then Judge Cormac Quinn is expected to give his charge to the jury.

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