Tuesday 16 October 2018

Man guilty of sexually assaulting Tinder date

Stock picture: Getty
Stock picture: Getty

Eimear Cotter

A former UCD student has been found guilty by a jury of sexually assaulting a woman he met on Tinder.

The 36-year-old has been registered as a sex offender.

He had denied the sexual assault, claiming the English language student "freaked out" and "started crying" when he tried to kiss her.

He told gardaí he believed they were "hooking up", but she said she never told him she wanted to meet up for sex.

The woman had alleged the defendant touched her thighs, forced her to kiss him, hit her on the back of the head, called her a "f**king b*tch" and pulled down the top part of her dress and exposed her breast.

After one-and-a-half hours of deliberations, the jury of six men and six women returned with a verdict of guilty.

The woman, who returned to Ireland from Brazil for the trial, looked relieved when the verdict was read out. 

Outside the courtroom, she smiled and embraced investigating gardaí. Later she sat alone, staring up to the ceiling and occasionally wiping tears from her eyes. She is due to fly home to Brazil today.

Judge Cormac Quinn remanded the defendant in custody pending sentencing later this month.

Wearing a navy suit, blue striped shirt and striped tie, the defendant did not react when the verdict was read out.

He had 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.

During the eight-day trial the woman testified that she arranged to meet the man after communicating with him on Tinder and WhatsApp.

She was picked up in Dublin city centre and driven to UCD, where he had studied for four years. She didn't know where she was.

She testified he parked the car near a green area with trees and nobody around. She started to feel scared because "we had said we are going for a coffee".

He turned the car engine off and she heard the car doors locking. She said he became very aggressive.

"He was looking like a monster. He was calling me bad names and trying to touch me. I tried to take his hands away, and I couldn't. "The only word I could say to him, 'stop, stop, I want my house, stop, stop'," she said. She said he put his hand on her knee and pulled her dress up to her thigh. He held her arm and her breast was exposed.

Struggle

During a struggle, she hit him with her elbow and he punched her head, she said. She managed to unlock the car door and get out. She said he drove off, leaving her there, and a woman out walking her dogs helped her get a taxi home.

The woman's flatmate said the woman seemed really scared and afraid, and told him that a "guy had tried to rape her".

The defendant told gardaí, during two interviews, he picked the woman up in the city centre, and drove out to UCD, to a secluded area. There was "more or less no conversation" in the car.

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

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

Irish Independent

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