United Kingdom

Sex attack accuser thought he was going to be killed by man he met on dating app, court hears 

Luke Burling, 34, is on trial at Reading Crown Court for assault and male rape. He has admitted assaulting the complainant but denies rape

A suspected sex attack victim has told a court that he thought he was going to be killed by a man he had met on a dating app who punched and robbed him. 

The man recounted how he picked up Luke Burling, 34, in his car after making contact on the FabGuys dating app.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he had refused to continue engaging in a sex act with Burling because Burling had not showered in days and smelled bad. He said that Burling had forced him to continue.

When the complainant told Burling to get out of his car, he said Burling put his hands around his neck and began punching him about the head while hurling homophobic slurs at him.

Burling threatened to kill the man and stole his £700 Cashmere cardigan before fleeing, the complainant told Reading Crown Court on Monday.

The jury heard that Burling, from Berkshire, admitted a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, having punched the driver on the nose, ear and side of the head, causing bruising and a nose bleed.

However, he denied a second charge of male rape, for which he was on trial.   

'The victim didn't enjoy it as he noticed that the defendant had poor hygiene and smelled bad, so he pulled away, saying that he had changed his mind and didn't want to do it,' Prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson said on Monday. 

The alleged incident happened in September 2018 in the empty car park of a Berkshire beauty spot known as Horseshoe Lakes just before 11pm. 

Mr Ward-Jackson told the court that the complainant had been at home on the dating app when he made contact with Burling, who was a stranger to him and who described himself in his dating profile as bi-curious.

'The defendant said he was in a pub called the White Lion in Yateley, Hampshire, with some friends and it was agreed that they would meet up for sex,' Mr Ward-Jackson said.  

In a video-recorded interview, the complainant said that he felt anxious after picking up Burling in his white BMW 3 series saloon because 'he sounded drunk and had confessed to taking cocaine'. 

'He had asked me several times on the way if I was gay, which I thought was really unusual. It was clear he had not showered for a number of days - it made me gag.

'I started feeling very unwell. I told him to get out of my car... he put his hands around my neck. I started screaming and he put a hand over my mouth.'

In a report to police, the complainant said he believed Burling (pictured) was going to kill him during the alleged assault

The complainant said that Burling had hurled a torrent of homophobic abuse at him during the alleged assault.

The jury heard how the man's car was fitted with an emergency 999-style button behind the rear-view mirror, which he pressed, sending out an alarm.

Burling told the man to switch it off, threatening to kill him before fleeing the scene with the complainant's £700 Cashmere cardigan, the court heard.

In a report to police, the man said: 'He told me he was going to kill me. I pressed the SOS button because I think he would have murdered me, he was on drugs. He kept saying to me "Are you sure you are gay?". He was using terrible homophobic language while he was beating me up...'

Concluding the prosecution's opening speech, Mr Ward-Jackson said that the defendant was 'drunk and high on drugs and looking for sex with a stranger'.

He said the complainant had initially consented to sexual activity with Burling but 'changed his mind on discovery of the defendant's poor standards of hygiene.

'It is submitted that every participant in sexual activity is fully entitled to change their mind at any stage. The defendant refused to respect that right and physically forced him to continue.

'He then compounded the attack by repeatedly punching him, subjecting him to homophobic abuse and threatening to kill him.'

The trial continues.

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