Westmeath rape trial hears alleged victim set 'clear boundaries' with defendant

Westmeath rape trial hears alleged victim set 'clear boundaries' with defendant

A 33-year-old man is on trial at the Central Criminal Court on a single charge of raping a woman in his home on January 1, 2017, after they met in a GAA club. File photo

An alleged rape victim has told a jury that she set clear boundaries with the defendant before going back to his home after a night out.

The 33-year-old Westmeath man is on trial at the Central Criminal Court on a single charge of rape. He denies raping the woman in his home on January 1, 2017, after they met in a GAA club.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, told the woman that her client's position is that there was sexual activity at her home but it was consensual.

In her direct evidence, the woman said she was visiting a friend in the local area on New Year’s Eve and they made plans to go to a party in the local GAA club. She said she met the defendant for the first time that night.

She told Orla Crowe SC, prosecuting, that she drank a bottle of Prosecco before leaving her friend's home. In the GAA club, she drank two bottles of beer and, over a two-hour period, drank four shots of Sambucca.

She said she and her friend and the defendant drank the shots. She said she and the accused were kissing and at one stage a passerby jokingly suggested they could have more privacy downstairs.

The woman said she went to this place with the accused and they were kissing. After about 25 minutes she decided it was time to go home.

She said she was trying to call her friend, in whose home she had arranged to stay that night, but her mobile phone kept switching itself off. She said the accused then invited her to stay with him.

The woman said she felt uneasy and initially didn't accept but did ultimately agree.

“I don't know why, I felt like I didn't have any other choice,” she testified. She said “it's not like Dublin, there are no taxis” and said she hadn't seen her friend in 45 minutes.

She said she accepted the invitation “with clear boundaries”.

She told the jury:

I said I would go back just to sleep there. I didn't want to do anything with him and I repeated that a number of times. 

He replied “yeah that's grand”, she testified.

“I repeated myself, with another caveat, which was at the time I had my period, so I said that if I wanted to do something I wouldn't be able to, but I didn't want to,” she told the jury.

She said that she went back upstairs to get her jacket and looked around for her friend but couldn't see her and she met the accused outside.

She said the man's brother-in-law arrived in a car and drove them to the defendant's home. He told her his mother lived there.

The woman said they were only a few minutes inside the front room of the house when the accused switched the light off and began trying to kiss her.

“I pushed him off and asked him what was he doing,” she said. The accused then pushed her back on to a couch and began pulling down her leggings and underwear.

She said she was kicking out at him and pushing him off with one hand while using her other hand to steady herself on the couch. She said she felt terrified and was breathless and may have been telling him to stop.

The accused had pulled her leggings and underwear off before she managed to turn herself over and crawl up the couch, she said. She said the man then grabbed her very tightly around her waist and began to anally rape her.

She said it felt extremely painful and sharp and lasted about two minutes. She said she then pulled herself off the couch and onto the floor.

She said the defendant had his head in his hands and she asked him “what the f**k is wrong with you, why would you do that?”.

The man repeatedly said “oh my god, I'm so sorry”, she told the jury. She said she never consented to any of his actions.

Under cross-examination, the complainant accepted that her friend's home was at most ten minutes walk from the GAA club and was an easy enough route to take “even with drink taken”.

She agreed with a submission that she “could easily have walked the five minutes” to the house and knocked on the door.

“Absolutely. It's something I consider all the time,” she said. She said she thought what went through her mind was that she didn't think her friend's mother would wake up and let her in and was reluctant to wake her as she knew she was working the next day.

She said she knew these were “not necessarily the best excuses.” The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.

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