Tinder case: Woman tells court of ordeal

A woman has told a jury how a Dunedin man she met on Tinder held her down, choked her, hit her and raped her.

The complainant, whose name is permanently suppressed, said she bumped into Michael John Danyon Fraser (24) in a fast-food restaurant in the early hours of February 25, 2018.

“He just seemed like a nice person. He didn’t seem like a psycho or anything,” she said.

However, when the pair got inside the bedroom of the man’s Cargill St flat, he allegedly showed a different side.

“He changed completely. His attitude changed, his personality changed,” the woman said.

The incident came just over a month after Fraser allegedly raped another woman he had met through the dating app.

She gave evidence by video link from overseas on Monday and also described how the defendant had slapped and throttled her during the incident.

Fraser is on trial before the Dunedin District Court after pleading not guilty to three counts of rape, one of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and two of attempting to do so.

The second woman said her alleged ordeal began almost as soon as she was alone with the man and he had locked his door.

In a police interview she gave within weeks of the incident, she described how he pushed her down by the shoulders on to the bed and stripped her of her clothes.

“I was a bit freaked out,” she said. “I was scared, I just wanted to go home.”

The complainant said the man got on top of her and held her hands over her head, leaving her unable to move.

Fraser’s grip was so tight it hurt her wrists, she said.

“At one point he started choking me and I fully couldn’t breathe, it was that hard,” the woman said.

“It was one of those moments you just freeze and you don’t know how to do anything.”

As it continued, the court heard, Fraser repeatedly struck her in the face. The witness estimated 10 blows, which she said left her with a sore jaw for a couple of days.

Eventually, Fraser “passed out” but she accidentally woke him as she tried to slip away.

The complainant contacted her sister using her phone, she said, then made her escape to a bus stop where she waited to be picked up.

During her interview, she told police Fraser messaged her four days later.

“What’s up?”, “You all good?” he allegedly wrote.

The complainant said she “freaked out” and went to police shortly after.

Crown prosecutor Richard Smith in his opening address to the jury said Fraser communicated with an ex-girlfriend once the allegations were levelled against him.

The couple, he said, had engaged in consensual rough sex and the defendant complained about how it was “not fair” he was being accused of rape.

The court also heard yesterday from Dr Ingrid Crawford, who examined the first complainant hours after she left Fraser’s house.

Dr Crawford said there was nothing abnormal in her findings but she emphasised that neither proved nor disproved the charges.

She told the jury rape did not always cause genital injury, nor did severe strangulation always result in visible damage to a victim’s neck.

The defence case is that the two women had engaged in consensual rough sex with Fraser and other allegations were either accidental or did not happen.

The second complainant will be cross-examined tomorrow.

The trial, before Judge Crosbie and a jury of seven women and five men, is expected to close next week.

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