Sunday, 3 Jul 2022

Student says serial sex offender she met on Tinder destroyed 'dream of learning English in Ireland'

A Brazilian student has described how an attack by a serial sex offender she met on Tinder destroyed her dream of learning English here.

Patrick Nevin (37) was convicted last December of sexually assaulting a Brazilian student whom he had met for a first date, after they contacted each other via Tinder in July 2014.

Last June Nevin pleaded guilty to raping a second woman and sexually assaulting a third victim. These attacks also took place in July 2014 and also involved Nevin meeting the women on Tinder and then picking them up at their home in his car.

Nevin, with former addresses of Mounttown, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin and Castlebellingham, Co Louth, then drove the women to secluded locations and attacked them.

After a trial in late 2017 a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court found him guilty of sexually assaulting the Brazilian woman on UCD campus, south Dublin on July 23, 2014. His lawyers told the court this morning, that Nevin continues to deny the charge.

The Brazilian woman, aged 36, told the court that it had been very hard for her to travel back here for the trial last year and to see her attacker.

Becoming tearful at times and flanked by the investigating garda, the woman said when the jury returned a guilty verdict, she felt a freedom she hasn’t felt for a long time.

She said that she the attack forced her to change her plans to learn English here and and she was only able to find work as a cleaner. She said she was working alone most of the time so the only words she learned were related to cleaning.

She said she still dreams of returning to Ireland to live here.

Patrick McGrath SC, defending, told the court that his client does not accept the verdict of the jury.

Judge Cormac Quinn adjourned sentence to next Tuesday. Nevin is due to be sentenced in another court next December for the rape offence and the other assault.

The woman told the trial that she thought he was taking her for a coffee when he picked her up in his car. She said he drove her to a secluded field on UCD campus and his demeanour changed completely and he became like a “monster”.

She said he attacked her and she was in fear of her life. After deliberating for around 90 minutes, the jury of six men and six women returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on the single count.

After the jury left the court room, Nevin told his lawyers, “I don’t accept that verdict.”

The woman said that she had come to Ireland to learn English and had arrived the previous month. She said she was using Tinder as a way of meeting people and practicing speaking English.

After some weeks of communicating with the accused on the Tinder dating programme and on Whatsapp, she arranged to meet him. She said she believed they were going for a coffee, but the man later told gardaí that he saw the date as a “hook up” for sex.

He picked her up in his car, a blue BMW, and drove her to a secluded field on UCD campus. The woman said that he then “changed completely”, becoming aggressive and sexually assaulting her.

After his arrest, Nevin told gardaí that while in the car he leaned in to kiss the woman and that she pushed him away and he moved away. He said she then became hysterical and “freaked out” before jumping out of the car. He then drove off.

Investigating gardaí put it to the man that nobody would react like that over a kiss. They asked him if he had “lost it” and got angry because she had knocked him back.

Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, told the jurors that simply agreeing to meet someone does not make them fair game. He said the complainant was not looking for sex and at no stage did she show an interest in meeting the man for sex.

“Everyone has the right to say no to sexual advances. No-one is entitled to force themselves on another, to kiss or force themselves on another,” he said.

He said there was no reason for the woman to lie and it was highly unlikely that a woman would travel here, three years after the events in question, to mislead or make false allegations.

He asked why someone would subject themselves to what she had undergone in the courtroom, unless she was telling the truth.

Mr Burns said that despite a lengthy and gruelling cross-examination, her core testimony had not been shaken by the defence.

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