Monday 23 September 2019

Shane Phelan: 'Just as revealing clothing is not a sign of consent, neither is a woman's use of dating websites'


Serial sex offender: Patrick Nevin’s Tinder profile photo
Serial sex offender: Patrick Nevin’s Tinder profile photo
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The story of Tinder rapist Patrick Nevin is a cautionary tale for anyone involved in the online dating scene. Thousands of Irish people use the popular app and other similar online services.

While it is true some are after 'no strings attached' encounters, others just want to meet new people and to see whether romance will blossom. Just as revealing clothing or underwear cannot be seen as a sign of consent, neither can a woman's use of Tinder.

However, Nevin (37) clearly did not see things that way.

A stark feature of the two cases against him in the Central Criminal Court was that Nevin expected sex.

When his victims said "no", he continued anyway.

The court heard Nevin used Tinder extensively as "a hook-up site". He told gardaí he had a thousand different "matches" on Tinder and claimed to have met hundreds of women in person using it.

Yesterday, the court heard how two of those women were put through horrific ordeals.

One was raped by him and another sexually assaulted.

Nevin has pleaded guilty to both offences, which he carried out within days of each other in July 2014.

In a harrowing victim-impact statement, one of his victims said: "When I signed up to Tinder, it was to look for a potential boyfriend. I wasn't aware I'd be meeting up with a monster."

The single mother of one was careful to set the ground rules before meeting Nevin.

She messaged him the night before, saying she "wasn't looking for sex, a one-night stand or anything like that".

Nevin responded "OK" and she believed they would just end up going for a drive and a chat.

Instead, he raped her on a lonely country road near a cemetery and left her in fear of her life.

Nevin said he found her attractive and "got carried away".

When the young woman sat into his car that night, she could have had no idea just how much of "a monster" he was. She just knew him as "Paddy" and would not have known how, back in 2001, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for assault causing harm to his then girlfriend.

During that incident he killed her two dogs, struck her with his fists, kicked her, asked her how she wanted to die, hit her over the head with a brick and pulled tufts of hair out of her head.

The second attack before the court yesterday was eerily similar to the first one.

Again, Nevin arranged to go for a drive with a young woman he met on Tinder and again he brought her to a secluded location. Yet again he expected to have a sexual encounter and would not take no for an answer.

There was consensual kissing, but when the woman wanted things to stop, he became extremely angry.

He called her a number of expletives and "a tease" and said she could get out of his car. Nevin said she was after "winding him up".

"I'm a fellow. I go to the gym. I am full of testosterone," he told her.

"If you were a bloke I would have boxed the head off you. But you're not, therefore I'll let you walk home instead."

The terrified woman pleaded with him to drive her home as they were in a rural area and she had no idea where they were. She got back in the car, but he soon pulled in again and forced her to carry out a sex act on him.

Much of the horrific ordeal was recorded by Nevin himself. Gardaí recovered a 44-minute audio file from his phone. The court heard it was notable the amount of times the victim said "no" on the recording.

Irish Independent

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