Ten women say they were harassed by man accused of raping Down syndrome woman
The trial of a man accused of raping a Down syndrome woman has heard from ten women who say they were harassed or pestered by a man near where the alleged rape took place.
Most of the incidents occurred within a few days of the alleged rape of the woman who the prosecution say was lured off the street and back to the man's home after she became separated from her mother.
The accused admits there was some sexual contact with the woman but maintains that it was consensual and that he didn't know she was mentally impaired.
He has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person at his Dublin home on June 12, 2013.
Defence counsel, Padraig Dwyer SC, told the court that the accused “doesn't deny approaching women on the street”.
The trial previously heard that the accused told gardaí he frequently had sex with women he met on the street but denied having sex with anyone on June 12, 2013.
The ten women told their stories to gardaí following an appeal for information and media reports about the alleged rape. Some spoke to officers during door-to-door interviews in the area.
Earlier today an 18 year old told the jury that the 34 year old accused approached her in mid-June 2013 and offered her wine and cigarettes. She said he grabbed her arm and asked her if she would have sex with him for €200.
Court hears teen kicked man who allegedly raped Down syndrome girl, “in the balls” after he asked for sex, read it all here
The witness said in her garda statement that she “kicked him in the balls and punched him in the jaw” before running away and leaving him “on the deck.”
She told Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, that on another occasion she and her friend were walking in the area and when they saw the accused and asked him for a lighter. She said the man asked them how old they were and where they were from.
She said they left and he started following them, so they started to run. She said they ran into two undercover gardaí and told them they were being followed.
When asked what this man looked like, she replied “he is the man sitting in the box” and that she saw him many times in the area.
The other women all described the man who approached them as being of dark complexion with dark hair. Three of the witnesses said they saw the man who approached them either entering or standing in the doorway of the house where the rape is alleged to have taken place.
One woman who lived in the same area said a man who lived in that house started to approach her from 2008. She said he would walk alongside her and ask her to come for a drink with him as well as “sucking his teeth” and “hissing”. This usually occurred when she was alone.
On one occasion she was returning home at 3am when this person followed her up the steps to her house and tried to get in. She said he was “extremely persistent” and that he asked her to come over to his flat to have a drink.
She said on June 7, 2013 she was walking home and saw this man staring at her from his doorway as she entered her house. She made a note of the incident in her phone and drew a sketch of the man.
She told Ms Biggs that she felt very pestered and threatened when walking around her area and that she started wearing headphones and sunglasses.
Another woman said that on June 7 she was parked in the area waiting for her partner with the windows down as it was very hot. She said a man approached very slowly and stared into her car for a couple of months before putting his head in the window.
She told the court hat he said “hello, it's hot, you're hot, do you feel hot?” The woman felt threatened and intimidated and did not reply to him.
Another woman said that on June 13 she was in the area when a man started shouting to her, “trying to chat me up.” She said he was saying hello and asking about the weather “in a manner that was very intimidating and unpleasant”.
“A lot of women, including myself, would have been sexually harassed before and that is what he was doing,” she said.
When asked by Mr Dwyer if the man said anything sexual to her, she said nothing sexual needed to be said for it to be sexual harassment.
The trial will continue on Thursday before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of six men and six women.