Alleged rape victim tells trial she did not believe family of accused would help her

Alleged rape victim tells trial she did not believe family of accused would help her

The 33-year-old Westmeath man is on trial at the Central Criminal Court on a single charge of rape.  File photo

An alleged rape victim has told a jury that she did not seek help from the mother and sister of her alleged attacker because she didn't think they would help her.

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 at a New Year’s Eve party in a GAA clubhouse.

The complainant was visiting a friend in the local area and had planned to spend the night in that woman's home after going to the party together.

She gave evidence on Wednesday that she agreed to go back to the man's home to sleep because she could not find her friend and her mobile phone wasn't working properly.

She said she and the man had been kissing in the club but she told him there would be no sexual activity at the home. She said that minutes after entering his home the man attacked her and raped her.

The jury has heard the defendant agrees there was sexual activity but maintains it was consensual.

The woman testified that after the alleged rape she fell asleep on the couch. When she awoke it was bright and the man was still in the room and was awake.

She said she heard female voices and believed these were the man's mother and sister speaking in a room in the house. She said she repeatedly pleaded with him to drive her home and he told her he would do it after his mother and sister had left.

In cross-examination today, Caroline Biggs SC, defending, put it to the complainant that she “ran the risk of getting into a car” with a “violent rapist” rather than asking the women for help.

“You have been violently raped. There are two women in the house. This monster tells you he is going to bring you home when they leave,” Ms Biggs said.

The complainant said that she didn't believe the man's family were going to help her. She said that the man's mother would have “heard me screaming the night before” and didn't come down to help.

“Why would you just assume that somebody's family would help you in that situation?” she said.

When somebody doesn't help you when you are crying loudly, you are going to assume they are not going to help you in the morning.

Ms Biggs put it to the witness that her client's mother didn't hear her screaming because there was no screaming.

She put it to the woman that she did not tell the accused there would be no sexual activity when she went back to his house. Counsel put it to the woman that in the house there was foreplay and that during penetration she said stop twice and he did stop.

Ms Biggs said the victim became upset afterwards but that the sex was consensual.

Evidence from Sexual Assault Treatment Unit

Dr Fiona Maguire from the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in Mullingar Hospital testified that the complainant presented with a medical history of being sexually assaulted by a man who had “been very rough”.

A “tip to toe” examination found an area of tender bruising measuring 7cm by 7cm on the complainant's back left shoulder, and an area of tender bruising measuring 6cm by 1m on her back right shoulder.

Dr Maguire said these findings could be consistent with the patient being grabbed by the shoulders.

She also noted red scratch marks on either side of the belly button area. The complainant has alleged that she was trying to crawl away from the accused when he grabbed her “very tightly” around her waist before raping her.

Her evidence is that after the rape she pulled herself to the end of the couch and rolled off it onto the floor, hitting her shoulder.

Dr Maguire agreed with Ms Biggs that it is not possible to objectively time a bruise and that individuals bruise differently to each other.

Additional evidence

The complainant's friend gave evidence that she met her ex-boyfriend and the accused in the GAA clubhouse and these three and the complainant were drinking and chatting. She said at some point she became separated from the complainant.

She said that towards the end of the night she saw the complainant and the defendant “pack up and leave”. She said she wanted to see what was going on because the plan was for the complainant to stay as a guest in her home that night.

She said she ran across the room, which is “quite big”, but the couple were gone by the time she got there. She said she looked outside the clubhouse but couldn't see them.

The alleged victim has told the jury that she looked everywhere for her friend before leaving with the accused and has said that her friend's account is incorrect.

The defendant's brother-in-law told the jury that the defendant rang him around 2.30am on New Year’s Day and asked for a lift home. The witness said he drove to the GAA clubhouse and parked his car about 50 yards from the entrance.

He said the defendant and a woman sat in the back and said both were “fairly drunk” and the woman “was well able to talk”. He said he offered to give her a lift “home” and she replied “no, she was staying with [defendant].

He said there was “the odd kiss” between the woman and the defendant during the car journey. In her evidence, the complainant denied that she ever kissed the defendant again after they left the club.

The witness told the jury that he left the couple at his brother-in-law's home and said they were kissing outside the front door as he drove off. He said he drove home, which was the next house on the road.

The complainant said she “strongly disagreed” with these submissions. The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.

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