A man has faced court, accused of raping a woman in Bendigo in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Strathdale resident Damian Toule, 31, appeared in Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Monday on charges of rape and sexual assault – but he denied involvement in the attack.
Constable Jacinta Morrissey told the court the victim entered the Metropolitan Hotel in the Bendigo CBD at 12.46am on January 1.
Four minutes later, Mr Toule’s ID was scanned at the same venue.
It is alleged CCTV footage showed him wearing a black cap backwards, a black shirt with grey sleeves and a white logo, denim shorts, and black shoes.
About 1.30am, the victim left the Metropolitan Hotel. CCTV footage shows her walking home towards Lyttleton Terrace and Mundy Street.
CCTV footage also captured a person alleged to be Mr Toule following behind at a brisk pace. Both the victim and that person turn into Mundy Street.
While walking along Mundy Street, the victim became aware someone was behind her, and messaged her partner that she believed she was being followed.
She crossed the railway tracks, then heard a person running behind her.
She turned around and allegedly saw the accused, who grabbed her buttock and said, “Can I have a cuddle?”
Police allege Mr Toule then forcibly rubbed the woman’s genitals and digitally penetrated her through her clothing.
Mr Toule is also alleged to have thrusted against the woman at this time and said to her, “Happy New Year, baby”.
The victim yelled for help and her attacker fled.
The woman told police the man was wearing a black cap, denim shorts and a shirt with a white logo.
The court heard there was about 600 metres from the point where the victim and the man alleged to be Mr Toule were last filmed by security cameras, and where the attack occurred.
Constable Morrissey said the woman provided her clothing for forensic analysis, and it was to be sent for DNA testing on Monday.
Mr Toule provided a reference DNA sample.
Police searched Mr Toule’s home and seized a pair of shorts and shoes, and his licence.
In a statement, his partner said she and Mr Toule went out on the evening of December 31 to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and went to the Metropolitan Hotel and the Universal nightclub.
She said she went home alone, and Mr Toule later returned with no shirt or hat. She said he told her he walked home along St Aidans Road.
Mr Toule told police he was out with his partner on December 31 at Universal, but they got into an argument and went home, and did not go to another venue.
He said in interview he was not the person in the CCTV footage and denied owning the clothes, but Constable Morrissey told the court Mr Toule’s partner had described that clothing.
Constable Morrissey said there were concerns Mr Toule would interfere with witnesses were he released on bail, and would commit similar offences.
Representing himself in his bail application, Mr Toule told the court he had a medical condition and depression, his partner was pregnant, and he had stable accommodation.
He said he had many support services around him, and argued this meant he would not be doing whatever he wanted.
Mr Toule said he could not interfere with witnesses, as he did not know who they were.
He said his ID was scanned because he planned to enter the Metropolitan Hotel, but did not do so.
Magistrate Bruce Cottrill described the nature of the alleged offending as “opportunistic”.
He said the allegations were supported by the statement of Mr Toule’s partner, which contradicted his version of events, as did CCTV footage.
Mr Cottrill acknowledged Mr Toule’s submissions, but said he had not shown exceptional circumstances to warrant his release on bail.
He will next appear in Bendigo Magistrates’ Court in April.
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