Accused deleted messages after alleged gang rape, midlands trial told

The trial heard one of the accused told gardaí he deleted messages from his phone after being instructed to do so by another man who was there on the night
Accused deleted messages after alleged gang rape, midlands trial told

Brion Hoban

One of the four men accused of raping a teenage girl “one after another” told officers that after the alleged events he thought she “might come to her senses” and go to gardaí, a trial has heard.

The four men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have all pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the then 17-year-old girl at a location in the midlands on December 27th, 2016.

The first accused (22) has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of false imprisonment. The second accused (24) has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, one count of oral rape and one count of false imprisonment.

The third accused (24) has also pleaded not guilty to an additional count of rape, two counts of sexual assault and one count of false imprisonment. The fourth accused (23) has also pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual assault.

All of the offending is alleged to have been committed at various locations in the midlands on the same date against the same woman when the accused were aged between 17 and 19.

It is the prosecution case that the complainant got into a car with the men in the early hours of the morning and was driven to a location where the four accused and a fifth man not before the courts raped her “one after another”.

'Five guys and one girl'

Before the jury on Tuesday, Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, read out memos of interviews of the first accused by gardaí regarding the alleged events.

During an interview, gardaí asked the first accused did he agree with what happened with the complainant in the car. He answered that she did not say stop.

Gardaí asked the first accused what happened after he had dropped off everyone who had been in the car. He answered that he went back to his home and went to his bed but could not sleep and then began to think “five guys and one girl”.

The first accused said that was when he thought she “might come to her senses” and go to gardaí. He said she consented and that nothing really happened, “but you never know”.

Gardaí asked him what he meant by her coming to her senses. He replied that she was in a car with five guys and that she had sex with four of them. He told gardaí he did not have sex with her.

Gardaí asked the first accused how the complainant was behaving. He answered that she was very drunk and that she did not know “what, where, how”.

The first accused told gardaí that if he was guilty then when he went to another country he would not have come back. He said he came back because he was sure of his innocence.

In a subsequent interview with gardaí, the first accused was asked if his DNA would be found on the complainant. He answered that it possibly would be found on her body but not inside her.

The first accused told gardaí that he touched the complainant's leg, he touched her belly outside her clothes and her breast when her top was down at a location in the midlands.

Consent

Gardaí asked what was happening when he touched her breast and if he had asked her could he touch her. He answered that she had been finishing having sex with the third accused at the time and that he did not ask her if he could touch her.

The first accused told gardaí that after leaving the location in the midlands on the way back to a midlands town, the complainant was crying. He said he told the second and third accused to stop what they were doing.

He said he slowed down the car and asked if she was okay. He said that she replied that she was okay.

In a further interview with gardaí, the first accused was asked about messages sent by a person not before the courts to one of the other accused men.

Mr Staines read a message in which this other person tells one of the accused to delete all messages and pictures because they can come after you and then says to delete the messages from them as well. The first accused said he was in a Garda station when those messages were sent.

Gardaí asked the first accused why this person would instruct one of the accused to delete data from his phone. The first accused said because this person was in his house and he thinks the person was thinking that he was in big trouble and it was very serious and that is why the person did that.

The first accused said he did not know what pictures this person was referring to. He said this person does not know anything about what happened on the night.

Gardaí asked the first accused if he deleted anything. He answered that he deleted messages about the complainant's passport being left behind to which she did not respond. He said he deleted the messages and blocked her on Facebook.

The first accused said he deleted the messages because he was scared. He said he was scared because maybe she thought he stole her passport and that gardaí might come after him, and also because of what happened on the night in the car.

The trial continues before Justice Tara Burns and a jury.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.

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