Sunday 18 August 2019

Tinder date was 'like a monster', court hears

'The woman, now aged 35, told Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, that she had come to Ireland to learn English and had arrived the previous month' (stock photo)
'The woman, now aged 35, told Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, that she had come to Ireland to learn English and had arrived the previous month' (stock photo)

Declan Brennan

A woman has told a court that a man she met through Tinder was like a "monster" when he attacked her in his car.

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

The woman, now aged 35, told Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, that she had come to Ireland to learn English and had arrived the previous month. She said she couldn't speak any English and said she was adding people to her "Tinder website" account to start speaking English.

She met the accused on Tinder on June 29 and they began chatting online. At one point, he told her: "I only want to f*** you", and she told him: "That was rude, I'm a good person, I'm not a whore."

Speaking through a translator, the woman told the jury that she became upset at this text from the defendant "because it wasn't my intention".

The man apologised and the pair continued to chat on Whatsapp. He repeatedly asked to meet her and suggested they could go for a drive in his car.

At one point, the woman said: "You just want sex, it makes me scared." The jury was told the defendant replied: "No, I don't just want this. I want to meet and be friends too."

The woman told the jury: "It was scaring me, I only wanted to meet someone that could help me improve my English."

She told the court that she did agree to meet the man and he picked her up at her address in Dublin city centre. She said he looked friendly and was smiling and she got into the car. The court heard he drove them to the campus at UCD but that she didn't know where she was.

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

She said he turned the car engine off and she heard the car doors locking. She said he then became very aggressive. "He changed completely the way he was talking to me," she said. "He was looking like a monster. His face wasn't the same face that smiled to me when I got into his car.

"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 didn't stop and that he put his hand on her knee and pulled her dress up to her thigh. She said he held her arm and her breast was exposed.

She hit him in his face with her elbow and he punched her head, she said. She then managed to take her seatbelt off and unlock the car door.

"I opened the door and shouted for help. He was holding me and he opened his hands. It's like he was afraid of someone hearing my screams." She said he drove off and a woman helped her get a taxi home.

The trial continues before Judge Cormac Quinn and a jury.

Irish Independent

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