Airbnb ‘superhost’ raped teenage guest after threat
An Airbnb "superhost" has been jailed for raping a 19-year-old guest after threatening to leave her a bad review unless she got drunk and partied with him.
Nicholas David Weston, 43, was convicted on four counts of rape over the horror Airbnb stay at his CBD apartment in November 2017. He was acquitted of a fifth rape charge.
Weston, who shared his home with hundreds of guests over three years, advertised his two-bedroom Elizabeth St pad as "the perfect location". He offered guests a room for $100 a night.
Airbnb awarded him "superhost" status, which it grants to those it believes provide "extraordinary experiences for their guests" and are "a shining example for other hosts".
Weston's 19-year-old victim and a friend had booked a room at his apartment for four nights after travelling from interstate to attend a rap concert.
They were also considering moving to Melbourne and intended to use the trip to "get a feel" for the city.
When they arrived, Weston told the women to make themselves at home, invited a friend around and they all drank together.
As the women were leaving to explore the city's nightlife about 11.30pm, Weston insisted they wake him when they got back so they could keep drinking, otherwise he would "give them a bad review on Airbnb".
They ignored his request and the next day they tried to avoid him.
But when they were preparing to go out again, he told them to wake him when they returned so they could "drink and keep partying".
Before they could leave, however, Weston's victim became unwell from drinking too much. She stayed at the apartment while her friend and Weston went to a bar.
They returned to find the victim had vomited in her bed, prompting Weston to repeatedly offer for her to sleep in his bed.
She refused but, while she was sick in the bathroom, Weston picked her up and carried her to his room.
Testifying over a day and a half at Weston's County Court trial, the woman said she felt too weak to resist.
She said when she realised she was in Weston's bed, she told him "don't touch me" but he removed her underwear and raped her.
"I couldn't really move, I couldn't put my head up," she said. "I kept saying 'please don't'. I kept sort of resisting him."
Weston denied any wrongdoing, saying the pair engaged in consensual sex, instigated by his young guest.
"This is bizarre, I'm an Airbnb host, I take my role very seriously," he said.
He was remanded in custody and will return to court for a pre-sentencing hearing next month.