Daniel Rawlings (right) with friend Matthew Champion (left) who was also on the cruise. Picture: Instagram
Daniel Rawlings (right) with friend Matthew Champion (left) who was also on the cruise. Picture: Instagram

Naked cruise threesome teen spotted on ship’s CCTV

A completely naked woman was captured on CCTV staggering out of a cruise ship cabin and trying to enter various rooms having just been involved in a threesome.

Captain Rick Sullivan described the scene in court as he explained his decision to ignore security advice and instead detain the then 28-year-old man who had been accused of sexually assaulting the woman.

Former Fairlight resident Daniel Rawlings, now 32, was never charged with a crime following the November 2016 cruise from Sydney to Vanuatu.

He is now suing Royal Caribbean Cruises for $400,000 in damages after he was locked inside a cabin under guard for six days following the accusation until the ship berthed back in Sydney.

Mr Rawlings was kept in his cabin until the Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Sydney. Picture: Channel 7
Mr Rawlings was kept in his cabin until the Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Sydney. Picture: Channel 7

Captain Sullivan gave evidence at the hearing before the NSW District Court on Tuesday where he explained why he decided to ignore the "guidance" of the cruise line's global security company to release Mr Rawlings.

The mother of the woman who made the sexual assault allegation sat sobbing quietly in the public gallery until she was asked to view the hearing from another room within the court due to social distancing measures.

The captain, who gave evidence from Florida via videolink, argued he considered Mr Rawlings the "ringleader" and he was concerned the young lady making the accusation could have been too drunk to give consent to the encounter.

Police officers board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship back in 2016. Picture: Channel 7
Police officers board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship back in 2016. Picture: Channel 7

"You had a statement in your possession from (the consenting woman) where she had stated she had had sexual activity with (the other woman) on the evening in question," said Mr Rawlings' barrister David Stanton.

"Now you formed the impression that (one of the women) did not consent to that sexual activity because of the effect of intoxication isn't that right?

"And yet you took no steps to confine (the consenting woman) did you?"

The captain argued he took into account witness statements and CCTV footage showing the young woman leave the cabin where the threesome took place completely naked and trying the door handles of nearby staterooms.

Daniel Rawlings is suing Royal Caribbean
Daniel Rawlings is suing Royal Caribbean

"It seemed like she was seeking refuge," Captain Sullivan said.

"That's your assumption," said Mr Stanton.

"She could also have been moving quickly because she needed to use the bathroom."

Mr Stanton told the court when the young woman's blood alcohol content was tested the morning after the incident it was 0.015 per cent which is less than a third of the limit to drive in NSW.

Captain Sullivan said he had "explored" releasing Mr Rawlings but ultimately decided against it.

He told the court he tried to disembark Mr Rawlings in Noumea but authorities would not allow him to do so.

"I was willing to explore the option (of him leaving the cabin) and we did proceed with a meeting with the family (of the complainant)," Captain Sullivan said.

The court heard during this meeting the mother of the young woman making the accusation threatened to throw Mr Rawlings overboard if she came across him.

Daniel Rawlings (right) with friend Matthew Champion (left) who was also on the cruise. Picture: Instagram
Daniel Rawlings (right) with friend Matthew Champion (left) who was also on the cruise. Picture: Instagram

"It was a highly charged and emotional response. We needed to make sure they didn't meet," Captain Sullivan said.

Mr Stanton said it was this meeting which sealed Mr Rawlings' fate.

"You just decided the easiest thing was to keep him locked up until you got to Sydney," Mr Stanton said.

Mr Stanton also read out from the young woman's statement to NSW authorities after the vessel returned to Sydney.

In that statement she outlined "being held up by two men" on Deck 12 the night she alleged she was assaulted.

Mr Stanton contends this never took place.

"CCTV footage provided to NSW police showed (the young woman) was never on Deck 12 that evening," Mr Stanton said.

Mr Rawlings had been on he cruise with his friend Matthew Champion who had told the court he went to sleep out on the deck after Mr Rawlings brought the women to their room.

The hearing continues tomorrow before Judge John Hatzistergos.

Originally published as Naked cruise threesome teen spotted on ship's CCTV


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