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Alleged victim of Danushka Gunathilaka grilled over intimate acts

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A Sydney woman who went on a Tinder date with Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has broken down in court as she gave evidence that “something switched” and he “turned into an animal” when they started having sex.

The international cricket star is facing a judge alone trial at the Downing Centre District Court after pleading not guilty to one charge of sexual assault without consent.

The charge relates to an incident on November 2 last year where it is alleged Mr Gunathilaka removed a condom while having sex with a woman at her eastern suburbs home, known as stealthing.

The pair first met at Opera Bar, where CCTV footage shows them embracing as they meet, before having drinks together at the city and heading back to the woman’s home via ferry.

In her final moments of giving evidence on Tuesday via audiovisual link, the woman broke into tears as she told the court: “I was fearful for my life when he was choking me, and so I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible”.

Crown Prosecutor Gabrielle Steedman told the court the woman had messaged a friend in the days following the incident saying “something bad” had happened.

“You’re probably going to tell me I did all the wrong things…he seemed really lovely when we met…when we started having sex it was like something switched in him and he was really rough,” one of the messages said, the court was told.

While on the phone to another friend in the days following the incident, Ms Steedman told the court the alleged victim said Mr Gunathilaka became “aggressive”.

“He was on top of me, I couldn’t breathe at all at some points… it was like he turned into an animal and a different person when we went into the bedroom,” the woman told her friend, Ms Steedman told the court.

“I felt forced…who does that, who forces someone… I was scared for my life.”

Earlier in the day, the alleged victim was grilled by the cricketer’s barrister, Murugan Thangaraj SC, about the intimate moment.

The woman on Monday said Mr Gunathilaka tried to persuade her not to use a condom. But Mr Thangaraj insisted that wasn’t the case.

“He never said he did not want to wear a condom that night,” the barrister said on Tuesday.

“He never tried to persuade you to have unprotected sex.”

The alleged victim replied: “That is not correct”.

Mr Thangaraj pressed the women about her police statement, telling the court she wrote that Mr Gunathilaka had “one hand choking” her, while the other was “on the bed”.

He told the court the statement said Mr Gunathilaka then began to slap the woman’s buttocks. – Agencies

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