Hung jury on most serious charges in Caleb Winchcombe rape trial | #tinder | #pof

MURRAY WILSON/STUFF

Caleb Winchcombe has been found guilty of raping and assaulting a woman after a trial in the Palmerston North District Court.

A man accused of brutally raping a woman he matched with on a dating app is set to head back to court, after a jury could not agree on a verdict for the most serious charges he faced.

But Caleb James Winchcombe, 24, was found guilty of biting and hitting the woman.

The jury came back to the Palmerston North District Court with a mixed bag of verdicts on Wednesday afternoon, having started deliberations on Tuesday.

Winchcombe was found guilty of four violence charges, and not guilty of one count of male against female associated with putting his hands around her neck.

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But the jury could not decide if he raped and indecently assaulted the woman.

Two other sexual charges were dismissed by Judge Stephanie Edwards.

The trial heard the pair matched with each other on the dating app Tinder, but they had previously attended the same Horowhenua high school. 

After a few weeks chatting, they added each other on Facebook and decided to meet in person.

She told the court she thought Winchcombe was nice, friendly and believed they had a connection.

He initially liked her, but later thought she was dull when they met up at his Levin home on September 7, 2018.    

Expecting the night would lead to sex, she arrived at his place about 10pm and noticed Winchcombe was drunk.

He told the court he would drink up to three dozen Vodka Long Whites each week. 

They sat in the lounge and made small talk. She felt there was a good vibe, but Winchcombe believed she was disinterested and didn’t think the night would lead anywhere. 

But they did end up having consensual sex.

She said he got angry and subjected her to a night of torment, punching her in the face, pulling her hair, biting her face and scratching her breasts.

She said she was made to perform various degrading sex acts, and was left with blood dripping from her right cheek.

Doctors said the welt was caused by significant blunt force trauma. 

The complainant said he once left the room, and on his return said: “I feel like I’ve just raped you.”

She claimed he offered her $2000 to keep quiet.

Winchcombe, who gave evidence in his defence, said she initiated sex acts and appeared to be enjoying herself.

Any marks and bruises were likely caused by him, but were unintentional.

She became historical when she saw hickies, saying her boyfriend would be angry, he said.

The woman’s mother picked her up afterwards, and said her daughter was in shock and hyperventilating.

Her daughter was initially wary of going to police, saying she knew of rape cases where the victim had ‘asked for it’,” the mother said.

Winchcombe will be back in court for a trial callover in January. 

 

 

 

 

 


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