Woman ‘felt fearful’ for her life during alleged rape by cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka, court told

    Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka allegedly told a Tinder date not to worry and that she would not get pregnant before he stealthily removed a condom during sex.

    The 32-year-old cricketer matched with the woman on the dating app on 29 October 2022 and met her for the first time four days later at Opera Bar in Sydney.

    The pair later went back to the woman’s eastern suburbs home, where he is accused of raping her through the act of “stealthing” – which involves removing a condom during sexual intercourse without the other person’s knowledge.

    Gunathilaka has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

    The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he forcefully kissed her and slapped her buttocks on the way home that night and then choked her two or three times during sex.

    “I remember trying to remove his hand from my throat,” she said on Monday as the New South Wales district court trial began.

    “I felt fearful for my life at this point.”

    The court heard there was no suggestion any sexual activity that took place on the night was non-consensual besides the alleged stealthing incident.

    The crown prosecutor, Gabrielle Steedman, said that just because someone consented to one type of activity did not mean they agreed to others.

    In her evidence, the woman that Gunathilaka was adamant he did not want to wear the condom despite her insistence that he do so.

    He allegedly told her not to worry, adding: “I won’t get you pregnant, darling.”

    The woman said Gunathilaka told her on the night: “Don’t you trust me? You should trust me.”

    Steedman told judge Sarah Huggett the woman noticed the used condom on the floor a few seconds after he had stopped having sex with her.

    “The complainant says she was in complete shock by what happened,” the prosecutor said.

    The alleged removal of the condom and his other behaviour on the night showed the cricketer did not care about or respect the woman’s wishes, Steedman said.

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    In an interview with police soon after his arrest at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on 6 November, Gunathilaka denied removing the condom, saying he had put on a second one because the first “was not good”.

    A search by police of the woman’s home found only one condom, which contained DNA profiles that matched both him and the alleged victim.

    Gunathilaka’s barrister, Murugan Thangaraj SC, said there were questions around whether the complainant was a credible witness.

    When first speaking to her friends soon after the alleged incident and then to a doctor, she made no reference to the allegedly removed condom, he said.

    The detail was only mentioned when she spoke to police on 5 November, the court heard.

    In his police interview, Gunathilaka categorically denied taking off the condom, Thangaraj said.

    “Because it was the first time the two of them were having sex, he also wanted to wear a condom,” he said.

    The judge-alone trial continues.

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