Warning: Distressing content
A man who raped his Tinder date and filmed the attack on her mobile phone has lost a Court of Appeal bid for freedom.
Joel Nathan Creighton was found guilty of raping the woman in August 2017 after he asked her to pick him up from a Lone Star restaurant.
Creighton and the woman known as Ms H had first sent Tinder messages to each other two days earlier on August 9, 2017, Justice Simon Moore said in recent Court of Appeal decision.
They then discovered a common connection – Creighton was good friend’s with Ms H’s brother.
The pair arranged to meet up the following Saturday and to not tell Ms H’s brother because of the awkwardness it might potentially cause.
But the next day Creighton messaged, saying he might not be available on Saturday night and could they catch up earlier.
They agreed to meet at Ms H’s flat that evening where they later had a spa and consensual sex before Creighton drove home.
The next day on Friday August 11, the pair talked about meeting at a Lone Star restaurant, but didn’t end up doing so.
However, at 11.30pm Creighton asked Ms H if she could pick him up from the restaurant.
When Ms H arrived, she said Creighton told her he had been at a funeral, and described him “as drunk, quite sarcastic and aggressive”.
She said he was slurring his words and quite touchy but not in an affectionate way, “…like pulling and grabbing”.
He asked if they could take a selfie in the restaurant waiting room and then pulled down Ms H’s top for the photo.
She asked him not to be a “dick” and send it to anyone else, but it appeared Creighton later sent it to friends, Justice Moore said in the judgement.
The pair returned to Ms H’s home and went to bed. Creighton was still fully clothed and Ms H assumed he was too drunk to have sex, as earlier in the night he had told her,”I’m really drunk so I’m going to be of no use to you”.
However, Creighton began to make sexual advances. Ms H told him she didn’t want to have sex and that she should drive him home.
But Creighton reacted angrily saying, “Are you f******* denying me, is that what you’re doing”, Ms H said.
He became increasingly angry before suddenly apologising and saying it was out of character, Ms H said.
He then suggested they get cuddle and watch a DVD. But once in bed Creighton forced himself on Ms H and raped her.
During the attack, he took Ms H’s phone and asked her to enter her access pin number before making a short video of the rape.
At Creighton’s subsequent trial he was found guilty of two charges of sexual violation, by unlawful digital sexual connection and by rape.
After the rape, Ms H said she couldn’t sleep all night and when Creighton woke up at 6am, he wanted to have sex again.
Ms H said despite the sex being rough and painful she didn’t fight back as she had the night before because she was fearful.
Creighton was subsequently found not guilty of sexual violation charges relating to the sexual contact between the pair in the morning.
In the recent Court of Appeal decision, Creighton had hoped to have his guilty convictions for the night-time attack overturned.
Creighton had claimed the pair didn’t have sex at all in the night when he returned from the Lone Star restaurant and they only had consensual sex in the morning.
He denied pulling Ms H’s top down at the Lone Star restaurant for their selfie photo, saying she had done that herself.
Creighton also argued the video taken of the pair during sex was Ms H’s idea. She had given the phone to him to film them, he said.
He said the video wasn’t taken at night but in the morning.
During the original trial, Creighton’s lawyer argued Ms H’s rape accusation was a false complaint.
The defence team said the selfie photo showed no signs of distress, Ms H had a lack of physical injuries consistent with a violent rape and questioned why she didn’t try to escape and get help from her police officer flatmate.
They also questioned why Ms H deliberately deleted the video of the rape.
This meant it could not be used as evidence at the trial after police were unable to retrieve it from the phone.
They also argued Creighton was the one who first told police about the video and urged them to look at it because it showed the sex was consensual.
While the arguments were rejected in Creighton’s trial, his lawyers brought them to the Court of Appeal.
They said Ms H’s decision to delete the video had led to an unfair trial for Creighton.
His lawyers said if the video showed Creighton raping Ms H, it would have been critical evidence in a trial that relied on two competing accounts of what happened.
However, Justice Moore rejected the appeal.
Moore said Ms H had been cross examined extensively during the trial about the video and said she deleted it because she felt disgusted having a video on her phone of her own rape.
Also, given Creighton had argued he didn’t have sex at night with Ms H, and that the video was instead of them having sex in the morning, then it was more likely to harm his case more than hers as the morning charges had already been acquitted.
Creighton was sentenced to six years and two months’ imprisonment.
Sexual harm – Do you need help?
If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline:
• Text 4334 and they will respond.
• Email email@example.com
• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat
Alternatively contact your local police station.
If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.