Matthew Sawyer, 39, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for raping his neighbor on New Year’s Eve in 2017
A gay man who raped his neighbor while sleeping in her bed after a drug-fed New Year’s Eve party will be in prison for at least 18 months.
Matthew Sawyer, 39, and his friend, now husband, Max Petro, brought several bags of cocaine to the Surry Hills apartment on December 31, 2017.
After watching the fireworks at midnight, those present partied until late in the morning.
But after a long night of alcohol and illegal drugs, it started to relax at 6 a.m., with the host – the victim of Sawyer – having to undress and be helped into bed by her boyfriend.
With the sun well up, the woman’s friend decided to take their dog for a walk, leaving only she and Sawyer in the apartment.
A jury found that Sawyer had sneaked into the woman’s room with her boyfriend and then into her bed, and that’s when he started having sex with her.
The victim drank five bottles of wine and a beer and took cocaine on December 31, 2017 that Sawyer (right) and his friend, now husband, Max Petro (left) had brought into her Surry Hills unit.
After a night of partying, it finally started to wrap up around 6 a.m., with the victim being put to bed by her boyfriend after she passed out on the sofa (pictured New Year’s Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbor)
The NSW court heard that the victim, when she was put to bed by her boyfriend, was naked, but that afterwards he took off the sheet to put her in.
“The next thing she remembered was waking up to the applicant who had penetrated her vagina with his penis, initially thinking she was her partner,” court documents say.
Then she heard the applicant say, “I’m coming” or “I must come.” She said “What the f ** k” and pushed the applicant away. ‘
Sawyer then jumped out of bed and pulled up his pants, which were wrapped around his legs.
The victim then ran from the bed into the ensuite and closed the door behind her, and the door to the bedroom closed behind her moments later.
Then she called her boyfriend and said “extremely upset and scared.”
Her furious boyfriend rushed home, and after consolation, his girlfriend slammed into Sawyer’s door.
After initially refusing to leave their unit, Sawyer and Mr. Petro eventually walked back to the apartment where they had partied a few hours earlier.
“(Sawyer) admitted to having had sex with the victim, but said (according to her partner) in a very sheepish manner and without eye contact that it was consensual,” the court documents said.
In his defense, Sawyer claimed that he had entered the bedroom to find the woman with a green flowered top and that he lay down on the bed next to her and discussed the party.
He claimed she started kissing him then, started rubbing the outside of his jeans and was “grinding” on him.
Sawyer (right, pictured with his husband, Mr. Petro) alleged that the victim initiated sex by kissing him and then pulling him on top of her, but the jury found him guilty of assault
She then pulled it on top of her and they started having sex, Sawyer claimed.
He agreed that at some point the victim had said to him “what the f ** k” was and pushed him away, but he told the court he was confused as to why he had to stop and leave.
The victim told the court that she had been drinking four bottles of champagne, half a bottle of white wine and a beer all night.
Her first memory after passing out on the couch woke when Sawyer penetrated her.
She couldn’t remember “getting cozy” or kissing him on the neck as he had claimed, which Sawyer’s legal team said was no denial.
Another party-goer who walked the dogs with the victim’s friend proved that he had seen the woman help in bed just before.
Sawyer was found guilty by an NSW district court jury before appealing the conviction to the NSW Supreme Court, alleging that their verdict was “unreasonable”
Sawyer was found guilty by a district court jury, but subsequently appealed the conviction to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal alleging that their verdict was “unreasonable.”
But that appeal was reversed in the Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday.
Justice Richard Cavanagh ruled that the jury had the right to consider the evidence of Sawyer’s victim credible.
Sawyer first qualifies for parole in February 2021.