Thug denies rape after beating man and fleeing with his £700 cardigan in hook-up turned violent

Street theif commits a robbery attack on a man in the entrance

A man who brutally beat his date and made off with his £700 cashmere cardigan has denied raping him. Luke Burling, 34, met the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for sex after chatting on the queer dating app FabGuys in September 2018.

Prosecutors described a night of simmering fear as the victim drove Luke Burling, who they said was “drunk and high on drugs and looking for sex with a stranger”, to a secluded lake.

The victim told Reading Crown Court on Monday (10 May) that he changed his mind during the hook-up because Burling had poor hygiene. After the rejection, Burling mounted a violent attack against him.

Ignoring the victim’s pleas to exit his vehicle, Burling began punching him on the nose, ear and head while lobbing homophobic slurs and threatening to kill him, before stealing his cardigan and fleeing from the scene, MailOnline reported.

Luke Burling is on trial for assault and rape. While he admitted to the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm – the victim was left with a bloodied nose and bruising – he has denied the second charge of rape.

What happened?

Ward-Jackson told the court how the victim was at his home at the time when he connected with Burling, who reported described himself as bi-curious on his profile.

Burling, who was at the White Lion pub in Yately, Hampshire, with friends at the time, agreed to “meet up for sex”, the court heard.

After picking him up, the victim drove to an empty parking lot at Horseshoe Lake just before 11pm.

The claimant told the courts he was nervous throughout the drive as Burling “sounded drunk and had confessed to taking cocaine”.

“He had asked me several times on the way if I was gay,” he said, “which I thought was really unusual. It was clear he had not showered for a number of days – it made me gag.

“I started feeling very unwell. I told him to get out of my car – he put his hands around my neck. I started screaming and he put a hand over my mouth.”

Jurors heard how Luke Burling began hurling homophobic abuse at the victim during the alleged sexual assault.

Prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson said: “The victim didn’t enjoy it as he noticed that the defendant had poor hygiene and smelled bad, so he pulled away, saying that he had changed his mind and didn’t want to do it.

“It is submitted that every participant in sexual activity is fully entitled to change their mind at any stage. The defendant refused to respect that right and physically forced him to continue.

“He then compounded the attack by repeatedly punching him, subjecting him to homophobic abuse and threatening to kill him.”

When the victim pressed an emergency button behind the rear-view mirror of the vehicle, Burling threatened to kill him. He then grabbed the victim’s cashmere cardigan and ran.

“He told me he was going to kill me,” the victim told police moments after the alleged sexual assault.

“I pressed the SOS button because I think he would have murdered me, he was on drugs.

“He kept saying to me: ‘Are you sure you are gay?’. He was using terrible homophobic language while he was beating me up.”

The trial continues.