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Sunday 17 December 2017

Ex-UCD student found guilty of sex assault on Tinder date at campus

Attack was at UCD campus
Attack was at UCD campus

A former UCD student found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman he met on Tinder has been registered as a sex offender.

The 36-year-old had denied the charge, claiming the English language student "freaked out" and "started crying" when he tried to kiss her.

The woman had alleged that the defendant touched her thighs, forced her to kiss him, hit her on the back of the head, called her a "f***ing b**ch" and pulled down the top of her dress, exposing her breast.

After deliberating for an hour-and-a-half, the jury of six men and six women returned with a guilty verdict at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The woman, who returned to Ireland from Brazil for the trial, looked relieved when the verdict was read out.

Outside the courtroom, she smiled and embraced investigating gardai.

Judge Cormac Quinn remanded the defendant in custody pending sentencing later this month.

He also made an order declaring him a sex offender.

Wearing a navy suit, blue striped shirt and striped tie, the defendant did not react when the verdict was read out.

Engine

He had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at the UCD campus at Belfield on July 23, 2014.

During the trial, the victim testified that she arranged to meet the man after communicating with him on Tinder and WhatsApp.

He picked her up in Dublin city centre and drove them to UCD, where he had studied for four years. The woman told the court she did not know where she was.

She testified that he parked near a green area, where he turned the car engine off.

The woman said she heard the doors locking and he became very aggressive.

"He was calling me bad names and trying to touch me. I tried to take his hands away, and I couldn't," she added.

"The only word I could say to him, 'Stop, stop, I want my house, stop, stop'."

She said he put his hand on her knee and pulled her dress up to her thigh.

He held her arm and her breast was exposed.

During a struggle, she hit him with her elbow and he punched her head, she said.

The victim managed to unlock the car door and get out.

She said he drove off leaving her there and a woman out walking her dogs helped her get a taxi home.

During two interviews, the defendant told gardai he hoped they would "make out and maybe have sex", though there was "no pre-arrangement" to do so.

"I did try and kiss her and when she asked me to stop and pushed me off I stopped immediately," he said.

He said she then "freaked out" and started crying. She asked to leave so they left, he claimed.

In his closing speech, prosecution lawyer Paul Burns told the jury that the woman may have been naive, foolish or even stupid, but "that did not give someone the right to sexually assault her".

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