Patrick Nevin: the Tinder rapist and serial criminal
Background: A long and disturbing history of violence and sexual assault
Patrick Nevin: He claimed to investigators that he had thousands of Tinder matches
In February 2001, a young woman returned to her Dublin home from a Valentine-themed work night out to be confronted by the sight of her two beloved dogs lying dead in the hallway, killed by her then boyfriend Patrick Nevin.
Nevin, aged 20 at the time, then launched a savage and prolonged physical assault on his girlfriend. Armed with a knife, he punched her several times in the face and asked her if she would prefer to die by being choked or stabbed.
When she managed to take the knife from him, Nevin headbutted her in the face and she fell over. He began choking her on the ground, boasting to the terrified woman that he had previously killed 10 people and that she would be number 11. She believed him and prayed for a quick death.
The louder she screamed for help the more Nevin hit her. He pulled a whole tuft of hair from her head and dragged her into the bedroom where he kicked her several times in the head and spat in her face.
When she begged him to stop and to call an ambulance he told her she wouldn’t need one because she was going to die. In a desperate attempt to calm him down, she offered to have sex with Nevin.
Fearing she would die, she grabbed a brick and began to smash it into the side of his head. Nevin was unfazed; he managed to get the brick off her and struck her repeatedly to the back of the head. She fell into a state of unconsciousness and later woke up to find her attacker walking around the room with his head in his hands asking what had he done to her.
The woman tried to calm him down but he refused to call her an ambulance and tried to stab himself before asking her again how she wanted to die. She told him that she wished to die in her sleep.
Finally, Nevin, who later claimed to having drank 14 pints of beer before the assault, fell asleep, giving his girlfriend the chance she needed to get out of the house in Dublin’s North Strand. She stopped a passing taxi-driver and the alarm was raised.
Nevin, then living at St Michael’s Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, was later arrested and admitted to assaulting his girlfriend. In the court hearing that followed, 10 months later, his lawyers told the court that Nevin came from a very dysfunctional background.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin jailed him for seven years.
Seventeen years later Nevin is facing into a lengthy prison sentence for a string of violent sex attacks on women he met on the online dating service Tinder.
The attacks took place in the summer of 2014 with Nevin using the same modus operandi each time. After initially chatting to the women, he would quickly ask to meet them, often sending sexually explicit images to test the waters.
If the women reacted badly, Nevin would pull back but would still ask to meet, insisting often he just wanted to go for a coffee. He told one victim, a Brazilian student who had only recently arrived in Ireland, that he would take her to the best place in Dublin for coffee.
Nevin would pick the women up in his blue BMW and drive them to a secluded spot where he would demand sex. If the women were unwilling to have sex he would attack them and force himself on them. The unsuspecting victims later told gardaí that his whole demeanour changed when he stopped the car and demanded sex. One woman said he became like a monster.
Shocked and in disbelief, they each tried to fight Nevin off but he was inevitably stronger than them. The women had little idea of the dangerous man they had gotten into a car with.
Patrick Nevin was born in July 1981 to Cynthia Owen, herself the victim of a sexual assault. Owen was officially named in 2007, following an inquest, as the mother of a baby girl found stabbed to death in a Dún Laoghaire laneway in 1973.
She was aged just 11 when she gave birth to the infant, who she posthumously named Noleen. She has claimed she was repeatedly raped by her father, Peter Murphy, from the age of about eight in their home at White’s Villas in Dalkey, and that she was also sold for sex to a group of men. The baby’s murder remains unsolved and Owen’s parents, Nevin’s grandparents, have since died.
When Nevin was aged nine, his parents split up and his father, Pat snr, took him to Denmark, where he remained with the child while a custody battle continued. The pair lived in the town of Horsens where his father worked as a social worker at the Horsens Centre.
When a teenager, Nevin was jailed in Denmark for an attack on a man at a neo-Nazi rally. Aged 17, he carried out his first sexual attack on the mother of a male friend.
Nevin was visiting this friend at his home but when the young man went out, Nevin turned violent, sexually attacking the woman before beating her unconscious. He was convicted of aggravated oral rape and sexual assault. He only served a short term in Denmark because of his juvenile status and an agreement to return to Ireland.
Back in Dublin, Nevin lived for a short period with his father’s family in the Dún Laoghaire area before striking up a relationship with the girlfriend he subsequently assaulted. He moved in with her.
The pair worked in the same company and in February 2001 the company held a Valentine’s function in a Dublin city centre pub. In an election for “heart-throbs” of the company, his girlfriend won the female category and Nevin became incensed at a suggestion that she would have to go out for dinner with the male winner.
The couple had a row in the pub and left for home separately. When the woman returned to the house they shared on Dublin’s North Strand, Nevin was waiting for her. In sentencing him for the attack, Mr Ó Donnabháin said he believed Nevin intended to kill his girlfriend.
He said: “You have previous convictions for violence against women and I have no evidence before me to suggest you will not harm women again”.
His words were to prove prophetic.
Degree in custody
Patrick Nevin made the most of his subsequent jail-time, gaining a degree while in custody. He was released in 2007 and went on to get a computer-related qualification from UCD. He would use his knowledge of the campus layout for his sex attacks years later.
In a newspaper interview during this time he insisted that he no longer posed a threat to anyone, stating: “Since I got out of prison I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol. I grew up with ADHD and I was from a broken home”.
In the summer of 2014, Nevin began to use Tinder with the intention of getting sex, regardless of consent. After his arrest he claimed to investigators that he had thousands of Tinder matches – where women have “liked” his online profile and he has liked theirs. He said that he had brought “different girls” down to the UCD campus on “multiple times” over that summer.
He said he took it that he was meeting the women to “probably have sex”, saying: “I thought we were meeting for a hook up essentially.”
He claimed some women he met would have sex with him after 20 minutes.
Not guilty verdict
In May 2017, Nevin went on trial, accused of raping one woman in a remote lane heading up in to the Dublin mountains in September 2014. Nevin also met this woman on Tinder and picked her up in his car and drove her to Kilmashogue Lane near Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, before allegedly attacking her.
The jury heard that the woman went on to Tinder the morning after meeting Nevin and spoke to six men in the following 36 hours. Under cross-examination she said that she was trying to pretend the rape didn’t happen and was trying to put it behind her.
Prosecuting barrister Alex Owens told the jury that her activity on Tinder the next day was irrelevant. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty after the trial judge had given it the option of returning a majority verdict on which at least 10 agreed.
Nevin put his hands together solemnly and thanked the jurors as they filed out of the court room, but as soon as they had left those remaining in the court room got a chilling glimpse of the primal anger his terrified victims had come face to face with.
In an instant his entire face turned into a tight violent rage and Nevin began pointing at the main investigator in the case, shouting: “You stitch-up scumbag. I’ll get you again. You stitch-up c**t”.
He was then led down in the cells. That trial was only the first legal hurdle he was to face.
Six months later, after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a jury convicted Nevin of sexually assaulting a Brazilian student at the UCD campus at Belfield on July 23rd, 2014.
During Nevin’s trial for the UCD attack, the Brazilian student gave evidence that Nevin had pursued her on Tinder for weeks before she finally agreed to meet him.
Very shortly into these text exchanges, Nevin asked the woman to send on photos to him and to meet him. After sending a “selfie” picture, he replied “nice, you’re sexy, any more pix?”
The English language student didn’t understand when he wrote “are you a good kisser ha?”, but understood that he had sex on his mind when he later wrote: “I will teach you many things about what a man and woman can do together if you want to”.
She wrote back to him to calm down, and told him she wanted to have a serious conversation. She believed this would be enough to tell him she didn’t want sex and was there to practise her English.
But Nevin, testing the waters, upped the ante and texted the woman: “well I only want to f**k you”. She replied with a “sad face” emoji and told him “that was rude, I’m a good person, not a whore”. Nevin realised he had misstepped and apologised.
During the trial his lawyers grilled her on these text exchanges and told her that it was very clear from this particular message that “what this man wants is sex”.
Asked why she didn’t end the conversation then, she told the court: “Because I’m stupid”.
After his apology Nevin began behaving himself again but soon enough decided to test the waters again with further suggestive texts.
The victim told the trial she thought he was joking and being silly. She explained that she repeatedly had to use Google Translate during these communications and often misunderstood the meaning of texts sent by Nevin, including references to sex.
The exchange continued for days, with Nevin often texting the woman first thing in the morning and texting her throughout the day.
In one exchange, she told Nevin that she had cried that day because she was missing her family. He replied: “Would you like to meet and be friends so?”
She replied “yes but I don’t speak English”, and he wrote “no problem I teach you”.
He promised to bring her to the best place in Dublin for coffee and she agreed to meet. Instead of taking her to a coffee shop, Nevin drove the woman to a secluded field on the UCD campus. He stopped the car and tried to kiss her. When she resisted, his whole demeanour changed and he became like a monster to the startled woman.
He began cursing and forced his hand up her dress. She struggled with him but he punched the back of her head. He pulled down part of her dress, exposing her breast, and restrained her by holding her arm.
The woman believed Nevin would rape her and feared for her life. She managed to release her seat-belt and get out of the car. Nevin drove off, abandoned her in a place she didn’t know, in a highly distressed state. A woman out walking her dogs came to her assistance and helped her get to the N11 and into a taxi.
Nevin was identified as a suspect by gardaí after they checked the records of the car registration caught on UCD’s automatic number-plate recognition system.
Two other victims
Last June, after initially pleading not guilty, he admitted raping a woman at Bellewstown, Co Meath, on July 12th, 2014, and sexually assaulting a second woman at an unknown location in Co Meath on July 16th, 2014.
The pleas came after a key legal ruling in favour of the prosecution which meant they could allow evidence from a number of victims to be heard. Ms Justice Eileen Creedon ruled that this “systems evidence” was admissible because of the similar modus operandi in all three attacks which were being alleged and the unlikelihood that this was coincidental.