ENGLAND RUGBY ACE CLEARED OF SEX ATTACK
A YOUNG England rugby union player has been cleared of raping a woman he met on the dating app Tinder.
Newcastle Falcons winger Zach Kibirige, 21, said the hour-long sexual encounter he had with the woman at her home in November was consensual.
On the fourth day of his trial, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court cleared him of four counts of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration.
Kibirige, who gained top grades at A-level and is studying for a psychology degree alongside his rugby career, was accused of raping the woman when they met for the first time.
The pair had swapped almost 1,000 WhatsApp messages before he went round for “cuddles” and to watch a film.
He told the court that they began kissing passionately on her bed and he claimed she said at one point: “You are going to have to try harder than that.”
They grabbed each other as they kissed, before having sex in a number of positions, he told the jury.
The complainant, who cannot be identified, claimed Kibirige put his hands round her neck and she was too scared to shout for help.
Giving evidence from the witness box, the player denied throttling the woman.
Kibirige said after sex he left as he had to get to sleep because he had training the nextday. INNOCENT: Kibirige
“I don’t think she was best pleased,” he told the jury. “She said ‘Are you not going to stay and cuddle and watch the end of the film?’”
That night he received a message from one of the complainant’s friends accusing him of rape.
When asked if he thought he’d done anything wrong, he replied: “Absolutely not.”