5 men accused of gang-raping British woman at Italian hotel claim the victim 'consented enthusiastically'
Five men who were accused of gang-raping a 50-year-old British woman at a hotel in Italy have claimed that she consented enthusiastically. The woman, who cannot be named for legal purposes, was allegedly a target when she was on holiday with her daughter in the upmarket Mar Alimuri Hotel in Sorrento, which is located to the south of Naples, in May 2016. One of the suspects, Antonino Miniero, told the court: "She wasn't drugged and she wasn't raped. She was happy to give me oral sex. It was all consensual."
Lucilla Longone, the woman's lawyer, however, said outside the court: "These claims are ridiculous. It's quite clear my client went through a terrible ordeal and we hope justice will be served by the court," the Daily Mail reported.
The victim also reportedly said that she had been drugged and had woken up to find that she was being attacked in one of the side rooms by the men who also filmed the incident at the hotel.
In the trial that took place in a court in Torre Annunziata, however, the jurors heard claims from the suspects, who are all employees at the hotel, that the woman voluntarily took part in the incident. The court also heard that one of the accused men had initially denied having sex with the victim but then changed his story later.
Miniero said that he found his friend Fabio De Virgilio with the victim, who was allegedly only dressed in her bra when he walked into a storeroom in the hotel.
He added: "She had already come on to me in the bar earlier when I was working. She then threw herself at me, started to unbutton my trousers so I went for it. She was happy to give me oral sex. She was just in her bra."
De Virgilio also told the court: "I had full sex with her. She was happy to do so. She wasn't drugged and she wasn't drunk." When he was asked why he had initially denied having had sex with the woman, he replied: "I didn't want to cause any family issues."
Two other suspects also claimed that they had consensual sex with the woman but one of them said that he changed his mind in the last minute and decided to take pictures to "brag" to his friends instead.
A. Miniero 34enne di Portici F. De Virgilio 27enne di Vico Equense D. Gennaro Gargiulo 23enne di Massa Lubrense R. Regio e C. F. D’Antonio 24 e 23 anni di Torre del Greco tutti da considerare innocenti fino all’eventuale condanna— movarturononnachicca#iosonoantifascista (@nonnachicca58) May 17, 2018
Sono accusati dello stupro della turista inglese pic.twitter.com/IXSgWtmSb7
Authorities were only alerted to the incident when the woman went back to the UK. The trial had initially heard evidence of the DNA of two of the five men being found underneath the alleged victim's fingernails.
A forensic expert told the court: "There was contact between these men and the victim and it was not a simple brushing past." She also claimed that her drink had been spiked on her last night of the holiday in the seaside resort. The woman was also very clear that there were up to eight hotel workers who had raped her.
The court also heard how the gang were caught by authorities after they shared videos of the attack on a WhatsApp group. The prosecutors said that the victim was taken into a room that was close to the swimming pool where she was raped multiple times by the men before she stumbled back to her hotel room.
Speaking in a court in February, the victim's daughter revealed that she believes her drink was spiked as well. She said: "My mum seemed distant and far away. She broke down in tears at the airport as we were leaving and told me everything that happened."
Antonino Miniero, Gennaro Davide Gargiulo, Raffaele Regio, Francesco Ciro D'Antonio, Fabio De Virgilio, Catello Graziuso, Vincenzo and Francesco Guida have all denied raping the woman in May 2016. The trial continues.