‘Awful things happened to me. I am that girl.’
THE woman at the centre of a controversial Sydney rape case which prompted a national debate on the issue of consent will relive her experience in a tell-all interview tonight.
She was a teenage virgin when she met Luke Lazarus, the private school boy son of a nightclub owner, on her first night out in Kings Cross in May, 2013.
The pair met on a dancefloor, then moved outside into a laneway near Soho nightclub.
The night ended with her in tears at the local police station, and a long legal battle - in which Mr Lazarus was ultimately acquitted.
Now, Saxon Mullins, from the New South Wales' Central Coast has decided to waive her anonymity to reveal the story of what happened that night and how it has changed her life.
"There's something I need to get off my chest. I've spent far too long feeling embarrassed and ashamed. The 18-year-old in the story is me," she told ABC's Four Corners.
"Those awful things happened to me. I am that girl."
Ms Mullins said she always dreamt her first time would be special.
"I had this grandiose, romantic [notion]: 'It'll be by candlelight on a bed of roses', with someone who loves me," she said.
But the reality was very different and Ms Mullins and Mr Lazarus' lives have changed forever because of what happened on that night.
Mr Lazarus was acquitted of anally raping the then 18-year-old after a jury previously found him guilty and he served 11 months in jail.
However, Ms Mullins said she felt "let down and confused" after a judge overturned Mr Lazarus' rape conviction.
"I lost something that night all those years ago and I've been searching for it ever since,' she told ABC.
"The reality is this doesn't get to be over for me. I don't get to know who I would be today had this not happened to me, and I mourn for that person. She seemed like she was on her way to being great."
In the new interview, she describes how it all began when she set off with her best friend, Brittany Watts, on a train from the Central Coast to Sydney on that day in May, 2013.
They headed to Kings Cross - then the booming night-life hub for Sydney's young partygoers - and decided to save money that night and preload their booze.
Ms Saxon said she had downed about 10 standard drinks by the time they arrived at Soho - one of the most popular nightclubs in the Cross at the time - shortly before 4am.
"This guy started dancing with me, so I just danced with him," Ms Mullins told ABC.
She said she thought he was attractive so they walked off together. She said Mr Lazarus told her he was going to take her to a VIP area. Instead, he took her outside to a back lane.
The pair kissed in the lane, but Ms Mullins claims she repeatedly told Lazarus that she wanted to go back to her friend.
"And he was like, 'No, it's fine', and I went to move away and he kind of pulled me back and pulled my stockings and my underwear down," she said. So, I pulled them back up and I said, 'No I really have to go now'.
"He said, 'Put your f**king hands on the wall'. And ... so I did."
Mr Lazarus agrees with this account, but denies swearing and says he did pull Saxon's stockings and underwear down but that she didn't protest.
The pair had sex, but their accounts of what happened next differ - leading to a messy, long legal battle.
Recalling what happened to her, Ms Mullins said: "My heart was going at a million miles an hour, I don't even think I was breathing for a majority of the time".
"Was a sick night. Took a chick's virginity, lol," Mr Lazarus said in a text message to a friend in the wake of the encounter.
Saxon Mullins was 18 when she lost her virginity. The rape case that ensued dragged on for years and resulted in acquittal, dividing the legal fraternity on the issue of #consent. #4Corners pic.twitter.com/9nML15OtEJ— 4corners (@4corners) May 6, 2018
His conviction was quashed on appeal and he was cleared in a judge-alone retrial in 2016.
Judge Robyn Tupman found Mr Lazarus reasonably believed the teenager, who told him she was a virgin, was consenting and acquitted him.
She also accepted the woman believed she wasn't consenting.
In November last year, a Crown appeal against Mr Lazarus' acquittal was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal, with Judge Tupman's verdict upheld.
Mr Lazarus' acquittal, on the grounds he did not know the then-teenager had not consented, sparked debate on how the law interprets the issue of consent in rape cases.
The woman says she is still haunted by the case which put sexual consent on trial.
"It got to be over for everybody else. There's no other avenues. Everyone's done, everyone goes home, and then it's just me. And I'm still here … I'm still living it."
As law decrees, the woman's identity has remained secret, but she said she had chosen to speak on television to share the impact of the incident and how the legal cases affected her.
"I've spent far too long feeling embarrassed and ashamed," she says.
I Am That Girl airs on Monday on Four Corners at 8.30pm on ABC TV or on ABC iView.