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"You stitch-up c**t" - Man cleared in Tinder rape trial berates gardai in court

Stock image of Tinder app
Stock image of Tinder app

A Dublin man had been acquitted of the rape of a university student who he met on Tinder.

The 35-year-old man was alleged to have raped the university student in his car after driving her up the Dublin Mountains.

He had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin on September 11, 2014.

On day seven of the trial, the jury of six men and six women returned a verdict of not guilty after just over four hours of deliberations.

The man responded by pressing his hands together in a praying gesture and saying: "Thank you, thank you so much". A female cousin began crying and hugged him.

A female juror began crying and the alleged victim, who was sitting in the back of the court room, also sobbed.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said the man was free to go on this matter but Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting said that the defendant was in custody on other matters.

After the jury left the court, the defendant began shouting at gardai: "You stitch-up scumbag. I'll get you again. You stitch-up c**t." He was then led away by prison officers.

The jury heard that the two met up days after they began communicating on the Tinder dating app and they went for a drive together. The complainant alleged that the defendant drove them to an unlit country road.

The man told gardai that they had consensual sex without a condom. He suggested that she made the allegation of rape because she was annoyed at him after he ejaculated inside her instead of "pulling out".

The court heard that in the 36 hours after the alleged rape, the woman chatted with six men on Tinder. She told one of them she had "a naughty side".

Michael Bowman SC, defending, told the jury the evidence that the woman was distressed after the date meant nothing.

"Was she equally as upset when she was texting on Tinder? Is she as distressed as she presents to the outside world?" he said.

The jury heard evidence that texts to and from the accused on Tinder and Whatsapp were deleted.

He also suggested that gardai failed to cross-reference her texts on Tinder with the statement made to gardai and that had these deleted texts been irretrievable, the accused would be convicted "in a heart beat".

The man told detectives that he met her for "a hook up" and expected "something would happen".

In her evidence, the woman said that the pair agreed to meet for "a spin and a coffee" and he suggested they drive up to a "viewing point" in the mountains.

She said that after a brief kissing session, she asked him to "take it easy". He said to her: "What the fuck do you think we're here for?"

She told him she didn't want a "one night stand", and got out of his car after he told her to "get the fuck out". He drove off and she tried to ring a friend but there was no signal.

The car disappeared from sight but returned a few minutes later. The man told her "it's grand, get in" and she got in because she felt she didn't have a choice. She said she didn't know where she was and he seemed a bit calmer.

He drove the car back to where they had been and he stopped the car. He turned off the car lights and they were in complete darkness, she said.

He began kissing her again and she told him to take it easy. He leaned over and pulled a lever to drop her seat back and moved quickly to get on top of her before raping her.

She said she told him to stop but she was afraid he was going to "beat the shit out of me" and she eventually stopped resisting.

Defence counsel said that the gardai in the case formed a view that "here is a terribly nice young girl up from the country who wouldn't dare tell a lie" and said that they didn't test her account properly.

"Having deleted the texts, she thought they were gone for good. She thought that gave her free rein to characterise (the accused) any way she wanted.

“How lucky, how blessed is he that there is a capacity to retrieve deleted texts," counsel said, adding that without this evidence his client would be "convicted in a heartbeat".

He said that the woman had misrepresented the entirety of the relationship and said "she cannot be relied on".

Lawyers for the DPP told the jury that her evidence had the ring of truth and said the man's statement to gardai was self-serving.

The man told gardai that he had consensual sex with the woman and said her version of events was wrong.

He said she seemed pretty keen to meet up and he found that unusual. He said a few days later, they arranged to meet but she cancelled it and they had a row on Whatsapp.

He said she later said that the "rowing had turned her on". She told him she was "all horny then" and it was a pity they hadn't met up, he said.

They then started sexting or exchanging images of a sexual nature. They met in the coming days and went for a coffee in McDonalds.

The man said he then asked her if she wanted to go to a "viewing point" in the Dublin mountains "because we couldn't do anything there".

Gardai asked him if he said that or did she and he replied: "Nobody said it. It was implicit. We were meeting for a hook up.

"I hoped, from the message she had said. At the end of the day, it is Tinder and given she had said she was horny. Being a chancer, I asked if she wanted to go up to viewpoint.

"In my mindset we were meeting to have sex - that wasn't necessarily going to happen. Ultimately I met not knowing something would happen but hoping and expecting it would. I suggested we go somewhere private."

Asked why she would make up an allegation of rape, the accused told gardai that the woman was annoyed with him because he had ejaculated inside her during sex without a condom.

He replied: "Coming in her. She wouldn't be happy and she thought I was an absolute prick.

"That started off the mood going sour between us. She didn't tell me to pull out. I thought she was on the pill or something."

The accused said: "I did no harm to that girl, I guarantee there is not a mark to that girl."

He said she had taken her own jeans off. He said if she hadn't done this she would be "covered in bruises".

He said that after he had ejaculated inside her "she wasn't impressed" and they had a "disagreement".

"I would have been apologising. She said I thought you would have pulled out yourself," he said. He said he wanted to hold her but felt "rejected by her".

"I told her, 'You're a bit cold'. I was pissed off. I felt she was being rude. She was saying 'You tricked me into having sex, you little shit'. The mood was sour."

He said that they continued talking as he drove her home, saying: "I imagine if someone had been raped, they would be in an absolute state of panic and fear."

The jury began deliberating on Wednesday afternoon and resumed its third day of deliberations this morning.

Just after midday Justice Butler informed the jurors they could return a majority verdict, meaning one which ten or more of them are agreed on. They returned a verdict just before 3pm.

Declan Brennan