Elderly hairdresser with 'active sex life' denies rape

·3-min read

Jetting off with models to Paris and mingling with well-known fashion icons, a Sydney hairdresser has said he slept with many women decades ago but never raped any of them.

Emilio D'Aguanno migrated to Australia from Italy in 1969 and opened his own hairdressing studio, named Emilio, first in the affluent Sydney suburb of Rose Bay and then in the historic Queen Victoria Building.

The 79-year-old is on trial in the Downing Centre District Court accused of sexually assaulting three teenage clients after styling their hair, inviting them into his photography studio and promising them a career in modelling.

He claims that as a "young, debonair Italian smoothie" who hosted events with famous fashion icons like Karl Lagerfeld, he was a stylist of some renown who had consensual sex with multitudes of women in the '70s, '80s and '90s.

"Emilio D'Aguanno had an active sex life. He did have sex with women customers sometimes," defence barrister Phillip Boulten SC told jurors.

Crown prosecutors allege D'Aguanno raped an 18-year-old between 1977 and 1979 and a 15-year-old in 1984 at a studio above his Rose Bay salon.

The 79-year-old is also accused of raping a third woman, aged 17 or 18, at his apartment in Rushcutters Bay sometime in 1989 and 1991.

D'Aguanno faces one count of rape and three counts of sexual intercourse without consent. He also faces an alternative count of unlawfully and carnally knowing the 15-year-old girl.

Crown prosecutor Alex Morris said the hairdresser had asked two of the alleged victims to dress in bikinis for their photo shoots, ordering them to remove their underwear.

These photo sessions then took an unexpected and horrifying turn, jurors heard.

"She does not remember how it got to the point where the next step was sexual intercourse," Mr Morris said describing one of the woman's evidence.

"He moved to be on top of her and she remembers a sharp pain."

One of the complainants agreed to meet with D'Aguanno multiple times for consensual sex after the alleged rape, jurors heard.

Another alleged victim was stopped by the hairdresser outside his QVB salon as she walked past in her school uniform and was told she "had a good look" for modelling.

She later went to D'Aguanno's studio apartment in Rushcutters Bay where she was allegedly shown a book of photographs of naked women and then raped on a towel on the floor.

After the incident, prosecutors allege he took her to a nearby park to take photographs of her on some children's play equipment.

"He asked her to move her underwear and part her legs but she didn't," Mr Morris said.

The first report was made to police in 2018, leading to D'Aguanno's arrest in May 2020. Media coverage of the charges led to the other two women coming forward.

In denying these accusations, Mr Boulten said no women had ever told his client to stop or had been crying or physically upset during sexual intercourse.

"He's never forced anybody to have sex with him, not these three women. No one ever," the barrister said.

While he could not remember the woman who claimed she was raped in the 1970s, he admitted having sex with her but said it would have been a mutual decision.

Jurors heard the hairdresser would give evidence later in the two to three-week trial.

"He will say on oath that he did not ever rape anyone," said Mr Boulten.

D'Aguanno denied claims he sexually assaulted the 15 year old, saying while he did sleep with her, she wanted to and that this did not occur until after her 16th birthday.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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