Alleged rapist Edward Gabbai tells court accusations against him are ‘ludicrous’ and ‘wholly not correct’

A Cambridge-educated biologist accused of violently raping three women has told a court that his encounter with one of the victims, a 23-year-old stranger he shared a taxi with, was entirely consensual.

Edward Gabbai, 30, is accused of raping the woman and filming part of the incident on his phone. The footage, played last week in open court, showed a woman on her knees “who appeared to be distressed and to be being assaulted”, prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC said.

Giving evidence on Monday, Gabbai, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, told the jury at Kingston Crown Court that although the pair had “rough sex”, he “acted based on the responses” he got from the woman and asked her permission before beginning a dominant/submissive role play.

“What she said is ridiculous,” Gabbai said. “There was no ‘this is what we’re going to do’.

“I slapped her face a little bit but softly, not like in the video… It was all with verbal back and forth, so me saying: ‘Do you want it?’ Her saying : ‘Yes.’ She even said: ‘Yes, sir.’”

Gabbai told the court that at the beginning of the encounter he gently put his hand to her neck and moved it away before making a questioning gesture.

“She took my hand and she put it to her neck… and she said ‘I like that’,” he said.

“I said to her: ‘I can do a submissive/dominant thing, you like?’ She said she did.”

The court heard that Gabbai met the woman in December 2016 while on his way home from a friend’s birthday party in north London.

He said the alleged victim asked him for a cigarette and the pair struck up a conversation on the street before he invited her to return to an address in Battersea where he was house-sitting at the time.

“There was a certain type of eye contact at that point… There was no other possible interpretation of what I was saying,” Gabbai added.

When the pair reached the house, Gabbai dismissed the woman’s claim that he grabbed her and forced her upstairs as “ludicrous”.

He told the jury that when they reached the house “it was completely tame and sweet” and they kissed for a while before moving to the bedroom, where he lit a candle to “create a nice atmosphere”.

Sarah Forshaw QC, defending, asked Gabbai whether the alleged victim’s claim that he slapped her as soon as they entered the bedroom was true.

He replied: “100 per cent not true.”

The alleged victim told the court last week that she had no recollection of the pair discussing a safe word, but Gabbai said there was no doubt in his mind that this had happened.

“I told her: ‘If it’s too much, say “bells”.’ I asked her: ‘What do you say if it’s too much?’ And she said: ‘Bells’,” he told the court.

Gabbai was also questioned about his motive for recording a video of part of the encounter on his mobile phone. He said his intention in recording the moment was “only to make it more exciting”.

He added that the slap shown in the footage – after which the woman recoils and shouts “stop, stop, stop” – was the hardest and last time he hit her, as he knew from her response that it had been too hard.

Although the woman asked him to delete the video, Gabbai said he later recovered it from the “Recently Deleted” folder on his phone after hearing the police wanted to speak to him.

“I didn’t have anything to hide and I thought it could be useful,” he told the court. “I wish there was just a video of us the entire night.”

When asked about the alleged victim’s claim that she was “crying and trying to get away the entire time”, Gabbai said it was “wholly not correct”.

Though he said there were “things about it that weren’t normal”, Gabbai told the jury: “For me it was very clear that everything that happened between us was consensual.

“I was there and I know that I acted based on the responses I got from her so for the majority of it I knew exactly what to do.”

When asked by Forshaw whether he may have “misunderstood the signals” he was getting, Gabbai replied: “I know enough to know that what she’s saying is not true and I know enough to know that it was consensual.”

In cross-examination, Russell Flint told Gabbai: “I would suggest it is not just rough sex but violent sex that you have enjoyed.”

He read from a transcript of messages sent to Gabbai by another victim, a Swedish woman, which included the message: “You hurt me really badly last night and I hope that you don’t ever touch someone that violently again.”

In response, Gabbai said the woman had “actively enjoyed” being strangled and hit.

The morning’s session came to a close with Russell Flint suggesting that Gabbai loses control and does whatever he wants when “caught up in the moment”.

Gabbai told the court: “No. I have control even in those moments of lust and passion and sex. I can always stop.”

Gabbai denies five counts of rape.

The trial continues.

+ posts

Leave a Reply

Verified by ExactMetrics