A 35-year-old man has been found not guilty of raping a student he met on the dating app Tinder.

The 31-year-old woman claimed the man drove her to the Dublin mountains on their first date and raped her. He had denied the charge.

His lawyers said the woman had deleted text messages between the pair and then created a false impression of what happened in her complaint to gardaí.

Defence counsel Michael Bowman said the text messages were later retrieved. He said they showed the true picture of what happened - they had both used the dating app Tinder to arrange "a hook up" and had consensual sex.

He also said the day after the alleged rape she went back on to the app and contacted six different men in a period of 36 hours.

He said if what she alleged had really happened, it would have warned her off Tinder forever.

The woman told the court the reason she went back on Tinder afterwards was because she wanted to pretend it never happened.

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Prosecuting counsel Alex Owens told the jury they were there to judge the facts and not the woman's behaviour in taking a risk.

He said the law was there to protect people who took risks from predators.

Mr Owens also said the fact that she engaged with others on Tinder was of no relevance.

In his charge to the jury, Mr Justice Paul Butler said that what happened in the car that night was down to one person's word against another.

He said the jurors might ask themselves why would anyone put themselves "through all this" if it was not true but, he said, that was not the answer.

He said it was dangerous to convict on the uncorroborated evidence of a complainant.

He added that it was open to the jury to convict but it must be most careful if it were to convict in such circumstances.

Mr Justice Butler said the jury may consider the evidence of the distressed state of the woman as corroboration only if the alleged rape was the only explanation for such a state.

The jury returned its verdict after almost four hours of deliberation.

The man cried as the verdict was delivered, clasping his hands together while he said 'thank you very much' to the jury.

Members of his family who were also in court broke down in tears.

After the jury left the courtroom he shouted towards gardaí.


The following article contains evidence that may be disturbing to some readers


In her evidence the woman told the court that initial contact had been made on the dating app Tinder followed by text messages on Whatsapp.

She said the man had texted her several times in the days following their first match on Tinder. She said he seemed annoyed when she had at first agreed but then declined to meet him at short notice.

However she said they could still meet up later in the week and arranged to meet on Thursday 11 September 2014 for a "chat and a coffee".

She said he phoned her from a different mobile number to arrange where to meet up.

The woman said before leaving her home on 11 September that she gave both numbers used by the man to her friend and flatmate, along with her details for a 'Find my iPhone' app and photographs of him because it was the first time she had used Tinder and she was a bit nervous.

On the evening they met she said they stopped at a McDonald's drive-thru for coffee and ice cream before going for a drive.

He said they would take the long way back to the city and took a gravel road up towards the mountains.

She said she became alarmed but the man assured her he was not going to abandon her in the mountains.

When she told him to take it easy when he began kissing her he said, "what do you think we are here for?"

She said she told him she did not want to have a one night stand and the man became angry, hitting his hand off the door of his car.

When she continued to resist him he told her twice to "get the f**k out of my car".

She got out of the car and began walking.

She tried to contact her flatmate but had no phone signal.

She said the accused man returned a few minutes later and seemed calmer and told her it was OK and that she could get back into the car.

"I got back into the car, I didn't think I had much choice, I didn't know where I was."

The woman had earlier explained how she had recently moved to Dublin from another part of the country to study at UCD and was not too familiar with the city.

She said the man drove back to the original spot and put the seat back in the car before raping her.

She said at one point during the incident she was afraid he was "going to beat the sh*t out of me".

When he removed her clothes for the second time she stopped resisting him.

After the alleged rape he said they should try again in a few minutes but she said she wanted to go home.

He said "f**k you then" and drove quickly down the hill while ranting about women in general and the Catholic Church.

He accused her of being hostile and said it was a pity.

When her phone signal returned she discovered her friend and flatmate had been trying to locate her.

She answered a call and said she would be home in 20 minutes.

The accused man said 'that was your friends checking up on you' and then began ranting again.

After dropping her near her home he said, "I suppose you don't want to meet up again."

The woman said she told him no and that they had different personalities.

He later sent her a text message with a smiley face and she deleted the Whatsapp conversation from her phone.

The following day she went to a doctor and reported the matter to gardaí the day after that. She said she had handed over her clothes and phone to gardaí.

Woman cross-examined about 'sexually loaded' texts

During cross-examination by counsel for defence, the woman agreed that while she was new to Tinder she had used other internet dating apps before such as Plenty of Fish and had exchanged "sexually loaded" texts with other men.

Defence counsel Michael Bowman said he was not bringing this up to embarrass her but it appeared that "sexting" was a common thing with young people.

She also agreed that "sexually loaded" texts and semi-naked photos of the accused man had been exchanged before they met.

A number of messages with sexual or explicit content were outlined to the jury.

Mr Bowman said the woman had given the wrong impression to gardaí in her statement by saying the accused man had bombarded her with texts that she could not answer because she was in college.

He said the truth was she was not in college that day and had answered almost every text he sent to her. She had deleted the texts when she made her statement.

Mr Bowman also put it to her that she had told gardaí that the accused man had suggested meeting at short notice when the phone records showed that it was she who had made that suggestion.

She agreed that he put it to her that the incident as she described would be enough to warn her off Tinder forever and never to meet anyone in those circumstances again.

However, he said her phone records showed she went back on the Tinder app at 8am the following morning and made contact with a number of different men in the space of 36 hours after the alleged rape.

In communication with one man who was looking for certain qualities in a woman she told him she "definitely had a naughty side and was working on her spontaneity".

She also exchanged phone numbers.

Mr Bowman said this was "a little incongruous to say the least" with the position she would later outline to gardaí in her statement.

He said the alleged rape had been reported to gardaí at her friend's instigation and not hers, as was the visit to a doctor.

The woman agreed and said she had gone to college the following day and behaved normally because she wanted to pretend it never happened.

Mr Bowman put it to her that there was no doubt that the date with the accused man did not pan out as anticipated and by the end of the date there was little or no chance of them coming together again. 

However, he said "the truth of what happened was a consensual sexual encounter between two young people who met over the internet and that, whether we like it or not, was in keeping with sexual encounters of this nature".

The woman rejected this suggestion.