Man drove 140 miles to drug and rape a Rugby woman - then tried to blame her injuries on a demon

After hiring a car and driving 140 miles to Rugby to meet a woman he had contacted through a dating website, a man spiked her drink with ecstasy and raped her.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 10:47 am
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Violent Darren Callaghan also assaulted the woman while she was unconscious – then bizarrely tried to persuade her there was a demon in her house and that she had been possessed.

Callaghan (48) of Bonchurch Road, Southsea, Hampshire, pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to administering a noxious substance with intent to stupefy, assault and rape.

But after considering the evidence for more than seven hours, the jury found him guilty of all three charges.

The case was adjourned for him to be sentenced on a date to be arranged – and he was remanded in custody by Judge Andrew Lockhart QC who warned he was facing a significant prison term.

Prosecutor Adrian Fleming had told the jury: “Darren Callaghan, while out with someone he had met over the internet, spiked her drink with MDMA, or ecstasy.

“He put it in her drink without her knowledge and, having done that, he assaulted her causing a number of injuries, and he raped her while she was in a state partly brought about by the administering of the drug.

“The combination of the spiked drink and the large amount of alcohol she had had to drink left her incapable of consenting to sex,” said Mr Fleming.

He explained that Callaghan had met the woman, who lives in Rugby, through a dating app.

“They got on so well that an arrangement was made for him to travel up to Rugby for a face-to-face meeting.”

Callaghan hired a car and drove the 140 miles to her home in Rugby where she said he became ‘a little boisterous’ and got a bit physical, trying to pull her trousers down.

When she got him to calm down, they had a drink and then went out on the town, visiting various pubs before they got a taxi back to her home.

By then she was pretty drunk, and when they got back she recalled Callaghan making them both a drink.

“She thought her drink tasted a bit funny, and soon after she began to feel unwell and had some sort of seizure. She recalls falling down, and her memories after that are vague.

“It’s the Crown’s case that he had put MDMA in her drink. She is very clear she did not take it knowingly.

“Although the defendant has admitted giving her a small amount of MDMA, he says it was at her request. That, you may think, is pretty central to count one,” Mr Fleming told the jury.

“The next thing she recalls is waking late the following morning, naked apart from her bra, and Callaghan lying next to her, naked.

“She was aware she had injuries all over her body, and she asked if he had punched her to the face.

“He said no, and that she was possessed and that there was a demon in her house. But it’s the Crown’s case that this ghost had nothing to do with what happened,” commented Mr Fleming.

“She says Callaghan appeared to be trying to blame her injuries on the supernatural. The inescapable fact is that somehow she got very real injuries all over her body – and it was nothing to do with ghosts.”

Mr Fleming said he accepted some of her injuries may have been caused, as Callaghan claimed, by her thrashing around when she suffered the seizure – but not all of them.

Having made him a cup of tea, she found Callaghan had fallen asleep, so she left and went to the home of a relative who returned with her to confront him.

Accused of spiking her drink, and being told to leave, he responded: “I only spiked her with a little bit. I thought she’s have done MDMA before. She asked me for it.”

The woman did not want to go to the police at that stage, but a friend contacted them, and when officers went to see her they found she was covered in bruises, said Mr Fleming.

Callaghan claimed that when they had got back to the woman’s home, it was she who had made the drinks.

He said he had got some MDMA from his bag, and she had asked him for some – but that when she took it she had a seizure, which he described as being ‘like something out of the Exorcist,’ but that he looked after her and wrapped her in a duvet.

And he claimed that after she had calmed down she had become ‘sex-crazed’ and that they had had sex a number of times.

But Mr Fleming told the jury: “She has no recollection of having sex with him whatsoever. If she was incapable, any sex he had with her was rape.”