A Dutch backpacker who was allegedly raped in a Surry Hills laneway last Friday has described how she miraculously escaped by pretending to play along with her attacker.
The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be identified legally, was allegedly attacked by a stranger as she walked home from the bus stop just before midnight on March 30.
On Wednesday, police charged 22-year-old Jerome Mundine, from Waterloo, with aggravated sexual assault – deprive liberty, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Mr Mundine, who once featured in a news article on how boxing was helping to steer him away from petty crime, allegedly “had sexual intercourse with [the victim] without consent [and] deprived the liberty of the victim for a period of time before the commission of the offence,” according to a police charge sheet.
The backpacker has told Fairfax Media of her terrifying ordeal, saying it happened close to her home so her flatmate was able to hear her screams.
She had only been in Sydney for a few weeks as part of a gap year after finishing high school in Holland.
After a night out in Newtown, she caught the bus to Surry Hills and had to walk about 15 minutes home via Cleveland Street and Marlborough Street.
Along the way, she realised a man was walking about two metres behind her.
After a few minutes, he caught up beside her and asked: “What are you up to tonight? Do you have a boyfriend?”
She said “yes” and kept walking. He then allegedly grabbed her by placing one hand on her throat and one hand on her mouth, saying “shut up or I will kill you, I will rape you”.
He allegedly dragged her down Christie Lane and pressed her up against a parked car and began to kiss and touch her.
“I was thinking, ‘I could stab you right now’ because I had my house key already out in my hand,” she said. “But I thought maybe that’s a stupid thing because he’s stronger than me.”
She then decided to play along in an attempt to get him to relax and let go of her throat so she could scream for help.
He fell for the ploy and asked if she would go home with him, to which she replied, “yes, why not?”
However, as soon as they walked down the laneway, he grew suspicious and again grabbed her by the throat and allegedly threw her to the road, leaving her with a large gash on her knee.
“I screamed the lungs out of my body,” she said.
Her flatmate heard and ran outside, scaring off her attacker.
Police were able to take DNA from the woman’s neck that allegedly matched Mr Mundine’s, resulting in his arrest less than a week later.
“I was so lucky,” she said. “I didn’t know if he had a knife, I was so lucky I was close to home.”
“I felt guilty because I didn’t want to kiss him back, it was a disgusting feeling. But after I spoke to the police and a psychologist, they said it was the best idea you could have had.”
She said she has had continual nightmares and has been on edge in public places but is trying to keep a positive attitude.
“I’ve accepted it, I just want to move on and enjoy the rest of my time here,” she said.
Aboriginal Legal Aid solicitor Luke Noonan did not apply for bail for Mr Mundine and it was formally refused in Central Local Court on Thursday.
In 2012, Mr Mundine featured as a participant in the widely-lauded Clean Slate Without Prejudice program, aimed at helping vulnerable youths in Redfern through boxing with police officers.
In 2013, he featured in another article as a participant in a local program to rehabilitate young Aboriginal men by helping them complete short skills courses.
In the article, he spoke of how proud he was to be a cousin of Tony Mundine, the Redfern boxing legend and father of boxer and former rugby league star Anthony Mundine.