Bendigo gang-rape trial set to resume today

Three men charged with raping a young mother at her Bendigo home while her children, aged two and four, were asleep, have gone on trial.

The victim rang 000 after the alleged rapes from a cupboard in her bedroom, the County Court was told yesterday.

Mohammed Saeed Elnour, Akoak Mioyl Kouat Manon, and Mohammed Hussain Zaoli have pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape and one count of false imprisonment.

Zaoli was also charged with one count of indecent assault.

Prosecutor Patrick Bourke, in his opening address to the jury, said the charges related to the three men acting as a group.

Mr Bourke said four other males had been the subject of other court proceedings because of their 

age at the time of the alleged incident.

Judge Bill Stuart warned the jurors not to speculate about the nature or results of those proceedings.

The prosecutor told the court the alleged victim was married and had two children, aged two and four. 

The woman’s oldest child was from a previous relationship.

Her husband had moved to Sydney for work in late 2010 and the plan was for the family to follow him in early 2011.

On January 8, 2011, the woman went to a friend’s place in Bendigo with her children for a get-together and drank Jim Beam bourbon and coke.

Her sister later took the children to another party before the alleged victim caught a bus home and began arranging to go out for the night.

Her children were dropped back to her house about 8.30pm and she gave them a bath and put them to bed. The alleged victim arranged for a babysitter to look after the children and then went out with a girlfriend.

Mr Bourke said the two women ended up at the Star Bar. A group of seven males – six Sudanese and Mr Zaoli – were also there.

Their 15-year-old female friend stayed outside the bar.

When the alleged victim decided to go home at about 3am, her girlfriend got a lift home with another friend.

The alleged victim was outside the bar talking to a number of people, including the 15-year-old girl, when she invited the young girl and another man and Zaoli back to her place.

Mr Bourke said Zaoli drove them to the alleged victim’s house before going back to pick up the other five males.

The prosecutor then played a video recording to the jury taken from Zaoli’s mobile phone showing the scene in the kitchen where there were six males and the alleged victim.

The 15-year-old girl and another male were outside. The prosecutor said the sexual assaults took place after the nine-minute video finished.

The alleged victim was at one stage pinned against a wall before being dragged into the laundry. At 4.30am the alleged victim called a friend to tell her she was scared and asked her to come over and to call the police.

Mr Bourke said that about 14 minutes later the alleged victim called 000 from the cupboard of her bedroom. 

The alleged victim was distressed and told the operator there were a number of males in her home and she had been held down while two of them raped her, the prosecutor said.

The trial continues today.