A woman was seen to have red marks on her chest and a bruise on her neck hours after she says she was raped by footballer Jack de Belin and his friend, a jury has been told.
Clinical associate professor Ann Ellacott on Friday testified to examining the 19-year-old woman at Wollongong hospital’s sexual assault unit on 9 December 2018 when she observed the injuries.
NRL star de Belin, 29, and his 23-year-old friend, Callan Sinclair, have pleaded not guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of the woman after meeting her late on 8 December in a Wollongong bar. They say the sexual contact was consensual.
The woman has testified that she thought the trio was headed to another club before St George Illawarra player de Belin led them to a North Wollongong unit where she says she was sexually assaulted.
Giving evidence in Wollongong district court on Friday, Ellacott said the woman’s history included leaving a club with the two men before allegedly being sexually assaulted by them in an apartment, during which hands were around her neck at different times. She also said she was given $50 to “keep her mouth closed”.
Ellacott reported seeing areas of mild tenderness and redness on her chest below her neck, a graze on her right shoulder and a bruise on the right side of her neck.
She had no visible injuries to her genital region. The doctor said such injuries were seen in the minority of sexual assaults.
The prosecutor, David Scully, referred her to the woman’s evidence of twice having had pressure applied to her neck when she felt like she couldn’t breathe. Ellacott said she couldn’t comment on whether one would expect to see fingermarks or any other visible injuries immediately afterwards – if that had occurred.
“Because marks and bruises can appear later and change over a period of time,” she said. She said she would not necessarily expect to see finger marks around a neck after force was applied as it can happen without causing marks.
De Belin’s barrister, David Campbell SC, suggested redness to the chest could be caused by many circumstances, including friction, sunburn and poor-fitting clothes.
“Correct,” Ellacott replied. The trial is continuing.