A young woman who says NRL star Jack de Belin raped her in 2018 sent a second message on social media asking for help during the night, a jury has been told.
De Belin’s trial had already heard the then-19-year-old woman sent a “help” message to a friend on Instagram moments after leaving the St George Illawarra forward and his co-accused, Callan Sinclair, outside a Wollongong nightclub in the early hours of 9 December 2018.
But the existence of a second message – not mentioned in the woman’s evidence – emerged during evidence from Kiama man Toby Nobes on Wednesday. Nobes told Wollongong district court he’d also participated in a Santa pub crawl on 8 December when he drank heavily.
After waking up at a bus stop later that night, he realised his phone was missing and went home. The next day, he found the phone at the North Wollongong Hotel and discovered the woman had messaged him on Snapchat, he told the jury.
“It just said ‘Help’,” Nobes told the court. He said the text was a caption on a photo of “nothing in particular”.
Nobes wasn’t sure when the message came in or to what extent he replied to it. As is standard on Snapchat, the messages were automatically deleted shortly after being viewed.
De Belin, 29, and Sinclair, 23, have both pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman in a North Wollongong unit on the night of the Santa pub crawl. Both men say the sexual activity was consensual.
Nobes told the court he received another photo via Snapchat from the woman on 9 December of a floor. The photo caption was “trying to get my attention that something was wrong”, he said.
The woman was at the time in a police station reporting the alleged rape. Nobes said he couldn’t recall any other messages the pair sent each other.
The jury has seen records that the woman messaged Nobes stating “I got raped” and that it was “hard to say how it all happened”. The trial continues on Thursday.