Student 'would have felt sexy': Young women of 21 get amorous from alcohol, expert tells rape case trial

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The Independent Online
ALCOHOL would have left a woman undergraduate, who is accusing a fellow student of raping her, feeling 'sexy' and 'amorous', the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

Robin Moffat, a forensic examiner with the Metropolitan Police, said that on the evening of the alleged attack, the woman would have felt 'very, very drunk and very, very sexy' after a 'lethal cocktail' of cider, vodka and Drambuie.

'Alcohol is an aphrodisiac. People with low libidos may get aggressive and hostile, but young women of 21 get amorous.'

Austen Donnellan, 21, a graduate of King's College, London, denies raping the woman, also 21, after a Christmas party last year. She claims that she awoke from a drunken stupor to find Mr Donnellan, whom she had considered a trusted friend, having oral sex and then intercourse with her.

Dr Moffat told the court: 'She was capable of saying yea or nay at all times. When penetration occurred it must have been painless and therefore at the time she was aroused and not unconscious.'

Later, Judge Geoffrey Grigson rebuked Dr Moffat for telling the jury: 'Rapists are violent men who hate women and they will penetrate them as wickedly and ruthlessly as they can. I have seen many rapists, they are not kind, gentle and reliable like this defendant.'

Earl Russell, a professor at King's and the accused's personal tutor, described Mr Donnellan as 'good, solid, intelligent, reliable, truthful and an extremely nice person - I like him'. After he had agreed to represent Mr Donnellan at a tribunal of the university's disciplinary committee, he had cross-examined his student and found his account 'true in all respects'.

Lord Russell described how the university attempted to cut a deal with Mr Donnellan. 'They were asking Austen to consider pleading guilty to a lesser charge and offering an apology to (the woman).'

Lord Russell asked the committee chairman precisely what the lesser charge would be, but was told: 'I don't know. Any lesser charge.'

Earlier Mr Donnellan said: 'My understanding was that they were desperate to get the matter solved as quickly as possible; they seemed prepared to go to any lengths to have me out of college. This possible reducing of the charge expressed their keenness to have rid of me, so they could paper over the incident. They wanted me to make a quiet exit.'

Mr Donnellan's former flatmate, Catherine Philp, told the court that when he went out with another woman last summer the alleged victim rang Ms Philp and quizzed her. 'She showed the interest of more than a platonic friend. It was akin to jealousy.' Closing for the prosecution, Rhyddian Willis told the jury: 'It is a case of unrequited love.'

She added: 'He saw his opportunity to satisfy a desire he had had for many months. He took advantage of her and raped her, and she was unaware of what he was doing.'

The case continues today.

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