21 March 2023

Tinder boyfriend faces 19 charges accusing him of repeatedly raping, assaulting ex

| Albert McKnight
Coat of Arms

A 20-year-old is facing 19 charges accusing him of assaulting his ex-partner. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses alleged sexual abuse and domestic violence.

A young woman whose ex-boyfriend is facing 19 charges accusing him of repeatedly raping or assaulting her has claimed she was “absolutely petrified” after the first time he allegedly attacked her.

“Growing up, I’d never seen this; I’d never witnessed anyone experience this,” she claimed.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was just trying my best to get through that moment.”

The 20-year-old was speaking at the ACT Supreme Court jury trial for her ex-boyfriend who isn’t named to avoid identifying her. The trial began on Monday (20 March).

The pair met on the dating app Tinder in 2021. They were in his Tuggeranong unit in late January 2022 when she claimed he started making hurtful remarks, such as how he wanted another girlfriend “as I wasn’t good enough” and he wanted someone who would keep him more entertained.

“It’s a very heart-breaking thing, coming from someone who supposedly cares about you and you care about,” she said.

She claimed he held her hands over her head, and from how he acted, “he wasn’t the normal [his name] that I started dating”.

“It’s very hard to explain, but there’s a click within him, from where he’ll go from being really nice and really decent … to doing a solid 180,” she claimed.

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The woman alleged he pushed her against a wall, pulled her onto a bed and put a pillow on her face for a couple of minutes “to try and suffocate” her.

She claimed she eventually ended up on the floor and started vomiting on the carpet.

“I was cowering in the corner and he was yelling at me from the foot of the bed because he was telling me that he wasn’t done,” she claimed.

She said she ran out of the apartment building wearing nothing but a t-shirt because “I didn’t have time to grab anything else”.

“I felt like I was running for my life,” she claimed.

She met another resident of the building downstairs and asked him to call an ambulance.

“I didn’t want police to come at that time as I didn’t want to put [the boyfriend] into any legal trouble,” she said.

“I was scared of him … but I did still like him at that stage.”

The man, also aged 20, has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of sexual intercourse without consent, four counts of choking or suffocation, two counts each of sexual assault in the third degree and committing an act of indecency, as well as single counts of assault and indecent assault in the third degree.

He was arrested and granted bail after the first alleged incident, but he is accused of raping or assaulting the woman on four more occasions until she reported him to police in late March 2022.

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When Crown prosecutor Trent Hickey made his opening submissions to jurors, he said he expected they would hear it alleged that on one occasion the woman had blacked out for a time when her boyfriend was choking her while raping her. When she came to, he was still raping her.

In the opening submissions by the man’s barrister, Travis Jackson, he said his client didn’t deny having sex with the woman on the relevant days but argued jurors would need to consider whether it had been consensual.

He argued jurors would also need to consider the nature of the sexual relationship between the pair and what had been agreed to on previous occasions.

The trial continues before Acting Justice Stephen Norrish.

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