Sydney woman alleges violent rape by Sri Lankan cricketer

Nov 8, 2022, 9:34 AM | Updated: 11:36 pm
FILE - Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka bats during the fifth one-day international cricket match b...

FILE - Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka bats during the fifth one-day international cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on June 24, 2022. A Sydney woman who alleges she was raped Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka told police her Tinder date with the 31-year-old turned into a nightmare in which she feared for her life, according to prosecution documents. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

(AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

SYDNEY (AP) — A Sydney woman who alleges she was raped by Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka told police her date with the 31-year-old turned into a nightmare in which she feared for her life, according to prosecution documents made public on Wednesday.

The woman was allegedly sexually assaulted four times in her home at Sydney’s Rose Bay on Nov. 2 after going out for drinks and pizza with the international sports star.

Gunathilaka was arrested early Sunday at Sydney’s Hyatt Regency Hotel where he was staying while the Sri Lankan cricket squad was in Australia for the Twenty20 World Cup.

He is facing four counts of sexual intercourse without consent and has not yet entered pleas. Each charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

His application for release from custody on bail was refused on Monday by Magistrate Robert Williams, who ordered some details of the case be banned from publication in the media until Wednesday.

According to a police facts sheet filed with the Downing Center Local Court, the couple matched on the Tinder dating app then shared a number of video calls through WhatsApp before meeting in person at a bar near the Sydney Opera House.

The woman, who cannot be identified, alleges Gunathilaka forcefully kissed her and slapped her buttocks on a ferry ride to her home.

After they arrived at her home, the cricketer allegedly refused to wear a condom and choked the woman three times.

“The complainant tried to remove the accused’s hand by grabbing his wrist, but the accused squeezed tighter around her neck,” police documents allege. “The complainant was fearing for her life and could not get away from the accused.”

She also couldn’t breathe during an attempt at forced oral sex, court documents allege.

“She continually tried to pull away from the accused, a clear indication that she was not consenting,” police allege.

In a police interview after his arrest, Gunathilaka corroborated some of the alleged victim’s story but denied that he had been violent or that she had not given consent.

Prosecutors allege the victim did not consent to sex without a condom or any of the other sexual acts that took place.

The matter is set to return to court on Jan 12.

Lawyers for Gunathilaka have flagged a potential application for his release on bail to the New South Wales state Supreme Court before then.

Gunathilaka traveled to Australia with the Sri Lanka squad but only played in one game, a loss against Namibia, before being ruled out of the competition with an injured hamstring.

Sri Lanka bowed out of the tournament on Saturday night after losing its last group-stage match to England, and the team had a flight home on Sunday.

Gunathilaka, a left-handed batter, has played nearly 100 internationals for Sri Lanka in limited-overs formats and eight test matches.

Sri Lanka’s cricket board has launched its own investigation, emphasizing that it adopts a zero tolerance policy toward any such alleged conduct by a player and would provide all the required support to Australian authorities to carry out an impartial inquiry into the incident.

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