Accused Melbourne rapist who pretended to be an Uber driver makes bid for bail

An alleged rapist accused of luring women into his car by pretending to be their Uber driver should be released on bail because of his family’s dire financial situation, a court has been told.

Prosecutors have accused Francesco De Luise, 59, of West Airport, of adhering to a “modus operandi” to attack women who drive through licensed premises late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Each of his three alleged victims had been drinking alcohol for hours between January last year and September this year when he took them away, Victoria’s Supreme Court was told on Monday.

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One of the alleged victims took a picture of De Luise’s hand on her leg, which she sent to her boyfriend, “indicating that she was uncomfortable and that person was trying to feel her,” Senior Constable Catherine Poole told the court.

Audio and video, passed by another victim, allegedly shows De Luise asking if he can masturbate in his car.

The alleged victim repeatedly said “no” and asked to be taken to her boyfriend, Poole said.

“She is screaming for help for her boyfriend.”

Francesco de Louise. Credit: 7NEWS

De Luise faces charges of rape, 10 counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual activity against another person and one count of a firearms offense.

He denies assaulting any of the women.

The 59-year-old could post bail for $1.4 million if he was granted bail and adhere to a curfew, defense attorney Dermot Dann KC said.

He would only drive a truck professionally.

“He’s not going to look like an Uber driver in a 10-ton truck,” Judge John Champion noted.

De Luise’s company borrowed more than $2 million for five townhouses, and his family depended on him to help make the loan payments and pay the rent, Dann said.

While his family had banded together to fight off the bank, “the whole thing is on the verge of collapse.”

De Luise’s dire family circumstances, along with his lack of a criminal record, prison terms and the possibility of a delay before he comes to trial, are “compelling” circumstances, Dann argued.

Justice Champion will announce its decision on whether to release De Luise on bail later this week.

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https://7news.com.au/news/vic/accused-melbourne-rapist-who-faked-being-an-uber-driver-makes-bid-for-bail-c-9210013 Accused Melbourne rapist who pretended to be an Uber driver makes bid for bail

James Brien

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