Dion Rizzo and Tristian Winter refused bail on rape charges

Two Bellambi men will spend at least the next two months behind bars amid accusations they jointly raped a 15-year-old girl in a deserted park at Woonona in the middle of the night.

In a case described in court as “irresistibly strong”, mates Dion Rizzo and Tristian Winter, both 19, are alleged to have vaginally, anally and orally raped the teen after meeting her by chancein Nicholson Park in the early hours of November 24 last year.

The girl was at the park alone, sitting on the play equipment, when Rizzo and Winter approached her and and struck up a conversation. It is alleged the men both started kissing and fondling then teen before the trio moved underneath the play equipment and their behaviour allegedly escalated to joint penetrative rape.

Once finished, Rizzo put his mobile number in the girl’s phone before either he or Winter jokingly told her “I hope you don’t get pregnant”.

The men then rode off on their push bikes, leaving the teen alone in the park.

She underwent a sexual assault examination in Wollongong Hospital later that morning where it was discovered she had multiple bruises and red marks on her thighs, knees, breasts, lower back and buttocks. The matter was subsequently reported to police.

Child abuse squad detectives arrested Rizzo on Tuesday afternoon. He allegedly admitting having sex with the girl but claimed it was consensual.

However, police will allege both men knew the girl was only 15 at the time, making her under the legal age of consent.

Rizzo named Winter as his accomplice, prompting officers to arrest Winter on Wednesday morning.

Both men fronted Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday afternoon however only Rizzo made an application for bail.

Defence lawyer Stewart Holt said Rizzo had no criminal record and could live outside of the area with his sister. He denied suggestions Rizzo presented a risk to the alleged victim if released, saying he had no way of contacting her and was unaware of where she lived.

In opposing bail, police prosecutor Sergeant Sean Thackeray described the case against Rizzo as “irresistibly strong” and noted the charges – aggravated sexual assault in company – carried up to 20 years in jail.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart refused to release Rizzo on bail despite his lack of criminal record.

“On what I have read I would have to agree with the prosecution – it’s an overwhelmingly strong case,” he said.

Meantime, Winter did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

Both men will reappear in court in June.