Australia

John Jarratt: Wolf Creek actor found not guilty of rape

John Jarratt (centre) with supporters after the verdict in Sydney on Friday Image copyright EPA
Image caption John Jarratt (centre) with supporters after the verdict in Sydney on Friday

Australian actor John Jarratt has been found not guilty of raping a woman in Sydney more than four decades ago.

Mr Jarratt, best known for his role in horror film Wolf Creek, had stood trial after the woman contacted police in 2017.

She testified that he held her down and raped her at a share house in Sydney in 1976, when he was 24 and she was 19. Mr Jarratt argued they had consensual sex.

A jury deliberated for two hours before acquitting him on Friday.

"I'm just so relieved," he said outside the New South Wales District Court.

What the court heard

The woman alleged that she had woken one night to the actor, smelling of alcohol, pulling at her bed covers and underwear.

She told the court he had restrained her and covered her mouth as he committed rape.

The woman said she had not raised her allegation until 2017 because she feared she would not be believed.

Mr Jarratt pleaded not guilty, telling the jury that the pair had "spontaneous" and consensual sex.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Jarratt is best known for his role in horror film Wolf Creek

He testified that this had included the woman telling him to be quiet because his wife was in another room.

"It was a form of seduction from her that I reacted to and one thing led to another," he told the jury.

He raised his hands in the air when the verdict was handed down, local media reported.

"No man should have to go through what I have gone through," he said afterwards.

Mr Jarratt is a veteran actor of Australian film and television, appearing in numerous roles over more than four decades.

He first played Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek in 2005 - a film about a killer who pursues backpackers in the outback. He has reprised the role in a sequel and a TV series.

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