Man on trial for raping teenager denies holding her captive

Accused claimed he thought the 15-year-old girl was aged ‘in her twenties’

 

A man accused of falsely imprisoning and raping a teenage girl denied to gardaí that he “held her captive” until she escaped the following day.

The man told gardaí­ that this never happened and that the girl only left his home when he threw her out after she had asked if she could stay later, his trial heardon Tuesday. He claimed that he thought the then 15-year-old girl was aged “in her twenties”.

The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment in a Dublin suburb on August 21st, 2017.

The now 19-year-old complainant, who gave evidence via video-link, told the trial that she sneaked out of her home that night after she had been grounded by her mother. She said she was alone in her local town when the accused man approached her. She alleges the man raped her after she went to his home.

The complainant told the trial that afterwards the man left the room and closed the door. She said she couldn’t leave as there was no door handle on her side. She said at one point the accused left the room to have a shower but he didn’t close the door properly and she “took her chance and left”.

Gardaí were alerted to the alleged incident after the girl told a teacher in November 2017. The man was interviewed by gardaí­ in February 2018 and notes from his interviews were read out to the jury.

The man told gardaí that he was walking down the road around 3am when he noticed the girl standing on the street near his apartment. He told gardaí that the girl said to him: “What’s your problem? I’m old enough to be outside at 3 in the morning.”

He said the girl told him she was waiting for a train and that he told her there was no train until the next morning. He told gardaí he went to walk on but the girl asked him where he lived.

“She asked me if she could stay until the train in the morning,” he told gardaí­.

The man said he offered to get the girl a taxi home but she said no, so he took her home with him. He said he gave her a small beer but he wasn’t sure if she drank it. He said she told him about family problems she was having at home.

The man told gardaí that he offered the girl the choice of bed or sofa, that she chose the sofa and he went to bed by himself. He said she came into his bedroom some time later, saying she was cold and asking if she could sleep in his bed.

He said he woke up at 9 or 10 the next morning and she was asleep beside him. He told gardaí­ the girl asked to stay until 4 or 5pm that evening and that he agreed. He said she asked to stay on later that evening but he then told her to leave.

The trial has heard the girl got on a train that evening where she met a friend who told her that her family was looking for her. The pair then went to a garda station and the girl’s family was contacted.

The man denied assertions by the interviewing gardaÃíthat he “held her captive until she escaped the following day”. “No,” he told gardaí­. “...I threw her out.” He said the handle on his bedroom door was working properly.

He repeatedly denied raping the girl or sexually assaulting her. When asked what age he thought she was, the man said he thought she was “in her twenties”.

Gardaí put it to the man that his flatmate gave a different account as to how the girl ended up in his bed, the trial heard.

The flatmate, who was in the apartment at the time, said the man told him that he gave the girl his bed and he slept on the couch but that the girl then came out to him and asked him to come into the bedroom.

“I don’t know, I don’t remember anything like that,” the man told gardaí when they put this evidence to him.

The trial has heard that later that evening, after the girl had been taken home, she directed her brothers to the man’s apartment and they assaulted him.

When asked why he thought this had happened, the man replied that the girl was saying she had problems at home. “She might have been beaten and made something up about me,” he told gardaí.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, brought the investigating garda through a number of case notes on the girl and her family. The trial heard that records from Tusla stated that in 2015, the girl had marks on her arms and legs and that she alleged she had been beaten by her parents with a belt.

The girl’s mother admitted hitting the girl with a belt, the court heard. Both parents underwent training and made a commitment not to use physical discipline on their children.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.