A woman fought back when an alleged Comanchero-nominee allegedly raped her, but claims he told her: “I hate you telling me to stop”.
In court documents tendered during 33-year-old Chidi Chike Okwechime’s bail hearing, it was alleged the offence happened after a night out at Kokomo’s nightclub in Canberra early on Sunday (16 May).
She alleged they snorted cocaine before leaving to go to the nightclub Fiction, where she said she asked a staff member if she could charge her phone to order a taxi and go home, but was told she could only charge her phone in an emergency.
Okwechime allegedly asked her to come to a party at his friend’s place, a Canberra Comancheros member. She agreed as she wanted to charge her phone and head home.
The court was told they went to the gang member’s apartment, but he left her and Okwechime alone and went into a bedroom with another woman.
The woman plugged her phone in but felt uncomfortable being left with Okwechime. He allegedly began kissing her, despite her repeatedly saying, “stop, I don’t want this”.
The prosecution alleges he dragged her into another room, undressed and raped her.
When the woman began crying hysterically, he allegedly began choking her and said: “Stop saying that; I hate you telling me to stop”.
She allegedly managed to say: “Stop, you’re killing me; I can’t breathe”.
Her vision went blurry before he allegedly let her go but, as she tried to get up and collect her clothing, she claims he grabbed her leg and tried to rape her again.
She eventually collected her clothes, dressed and left the unit, followed by Okwechime who offered to call her an Uber.
Once they got outside, she ran away and knocked on the door of a townhouse to find help. The man who answered let her in and called the police.
A doctor who examined her at the Canberra Hospital said the bruising she received supported the allegation of someone involved in non-consensual sex. When police arrested Okwechime, he was with the Comanchero who told them: “Nothing happened, she is crazy”.
When Okwechime appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (19 May), he pleaded not guilty to two counts of sex without consent, as well as one count each of assault and strangulation.
His lawyer, Adrian McKenna of McKenna Taylor Criminal Defence Lawyers, said it was not in dispute his client had never met the woman before that night, but he “absolutely denies” any form of criminal behaviour, including taking cocaine.
He said the bruises reported on the woman’s body were not consistent with choking and that while she had reported crying hysterically during the alleged attack, the Comanchero in the home did not hear anything.
Mr McKenna said the matter would largely become a “word-on-word case”.
He said strict bail conditions could be imposed, including a curfew, daily reporting and $5000 forfeited by Okwechime’s father.
But prosecutor Katrina Marson opposed bail, saying the alleged attack occurred recently after Okwechime had been released on parole.
She alleged he had “used significant violence against this woman to pursue his own interests” and ignored her “fear and distress”.
Ms Marson said his criminal history demonstrated his willingness to use violence for his own interests, and that “perhaps his interests have never been so desperate”.
But Magistrate James Lawton ultimately granted bail, “on some hesitation”.
He noted the seriousness of the allegations and he had recently been released on parole in NSW.
But he said bail conditions could ameliorate the risks raised by the prosecution, including that if Okwechime tried to contact the woman or the Comanchero, he could be jailed.
He adjourned the case to 27 July 2021.
Court documents allege Okwechime is a nominee of the Comancheros.