Woman Feared for Her Life During Alleged Rape by Cricketer, Court Told

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Sri Lankan international cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka made his Tinder date fearful for her life as they had sex inside her home in Sydney’s east before he removed a condom against her wishes, a court has heard.

Gunathilaka, 32, is facing a judge-alone trial in Downing Centre District Court after pleading not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent relating to a 29-year-old woman on the night of November 2, 2022.

Giving evidence via video link on Monday, the woman said she had matched with Gunathilaka, also known as Danny, on Tinder on October 29, and he told her he played for the Sri Lanka cricket team.

Gunathilaka first met the complainant at Opera Bar, where she had been drinking with friends, before they went to Frankie’s Pizza on Hunter Street for dinner.

“I remember it being quite noisy there, and I wanted to go home. He suggested that we purchase some alcohol and get a taxi to my place,” the woman said. “I said I already had drinks at my house and would rather get a ferry.”

The court was shown CCTV of the pair at the venues, and then kissing at Circular Quay and on the ferry, which she described as “forceful”.

“It didn’t feel nice,” she said. “He also slapped my buttocks quite hard.”

Inside her eastern suburbs home, she said she poured them each a glass of wine, and they sat on the lounge, then Gunathilaka kissed her “quite forcefully” and groped her breast.

“I wasn’t comfortable with how quickly things were moving,” she said.

The woman said Gunathilaka took her clothes off, and she suggested they go to the bedroom because the lounge room was a communal space.

The complainant said she initially felt reassured when Gunathilaka performed oral sex “because I felt like he was interested in my pleasure, but it was forceful so I started to feel uncomfortable”.

She said she told him they “have to use a condom” and recalled Gunathilaka saying, “I don’t want to use a condom, I don’t like condoms”.

The complainant said she told Gunathilaka she did not want to get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted infection.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry, I won’t get you pregnant, darling. Don’t you trust me? You should trust me,’” she said.

The woman said she got a condom from her bedside table and claimed Gunathilaka “said something like ‘I hate using condoms’” to which she replied, “well, I’m sorry, but we need to use one”.

“I remember trying to remove his hand from my throat. I felt fearful for my life at this point.”The woman allegedly sexually assaulted by Danushka Gunathilaka

She said Gunathilaka “hesitated” but put one on, then started to have sexual intercourse “in a forceful way” for about 15 minutes, including choking her for 20 to 30 seconds “at least three times”, and appeared to be smirking.

“I remember trying to remove his hand from my throat. I felt fearful for my life at this point,” she said. “I remember asking him to slow down, but he didn’t slow down or respond to me.”

She said within three to five seconds of the intercourse ending, she noticed a condom on the ground.

Opening the Crown case, prosecutor Gabrielle Steedman said the central issue at trial was whether Gunathilaka removed a condom during sexual intercourse “without the complainant’s knowledge”, known as stealthing.

“The complainant consented to protected sex,” she said.

Steedman said the woman was in complete shock and did not feel safe to say anything about the condom because of “what she says was fear of retribution”.

Defence barrister Murugan Thangaraj, SC, said the Crown must prove Gunathilaka “deliberately removed the condom against her will”. He anticipated evidence the woman told one friend, “I don’t know if he took it off”.

Thangaraj said his client cooperated with police including unlocking his phone, letting them search his hotel room and belongings without a warrant and participated in a recorded interview in which he “categorically denied engaging in penile-vaginal intercourse without a condom”.

Gunathilaka had travelled to Australia for the T20 World Cup and was arrested on November 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Sussex Street before the Sri Lanka team’s departure.

The trial before Judge Sarah Huggett is expected to run for three to four days.

Source: SRMH News