A Victorian man is fighting charges he raped a hitchhiker who accepted a ride on a Melbourne highway after she left a friend’s home following an argument.
Vince Mancarella appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday charged with the rape, sexual assault and assault of a woman in July.
He was arrested in November after police appealed for public help identifying a man who sexually assaulted a 49-year-old woman after offering her a lift on the Princes Highway on July 30.
Police have previously said the woman was walking home near Beaconsfield after she had an argument with a friend.
It’s alleged Mancarella pulled up in his ute and offered her a ride.
He allegedly consoled her about the fight she had with her friend before pulling over at Officer so they could ‘have a chat’.
Mancarella then allegedly forced himself on the woman, before dropping her off in Pakenham.
Following a public appeal, police arrested and charged Mancarella in November.
He was refused bail by Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court but was granted bail in December by the Victorian Supreme Court and released from custody.
Mancarella is due to return to court for a contested committal hearing on March 27 that will determine if he should stand trial.