Accused Melbourne rapist to stand trial

Georgie Moore
·1-min read

A man accused of raping and choking a jogger, and holding her head underwater at a Melbourne creek, has been committed to stand trial.

Joel Russo has pleaded not guilty to 13 charges of rape, three of sexual assault and two of reckless conduct endangering life along Merri Creek at Coburg on December 3 last year.

The 26-year-old is accused of repeatedly raping the woman as she jogged, choking her and holding her head underwater.

He's also charged with two counts of attempted robbery from Carlton on the day of and the day after the alleged rape.

Russo was on Friday committed by a magistrate to stand trial in Victoria's County Court.

He has bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, an intellectual disability and an acquired brain injury.

He did not apply for bail and remains in custody ahead of a directions hearing on February 3.