Equestrian champ Callum Buczak was at the top of his sport and had his sights set firmly on Tokyo when he hooked up with an impressionable young rider.
The 28-year old had only recently split up with Alexandra McDonough, who was also a beautiful young rider that mixed in the same horse-riding community.
What happened next will be the subject of a jury trial that could see Buczak put behind bars – his reputation and Olympic dreams destroyed forever.
Alexandra McDonough hooked up with Callum Buczak shortly after he broke up with his alleged rape victim
Callum Buczak was an Olympic hopeful. Pictured here with partner Alexandra McDonough
Alexandra McDonough and would-be Olympian rider Callum Buczak in a photo posted on social media
Buczak had only been in the relationship for a few weeks when he decided to call it quits.
History will say his heart still belonged to McDonough, who would become embroiled in the ugly mess that followed that fateful night on February 28, 2019.
Police allege Buczak had gone to the woman’s Frankston address to break-up with her, but viciously raped her before leaving and returning to McDonough.
McDonough is also facing a series of charges amid claims she tried to intimidate and stalk Buczak’s alleged victim in the weeks before and following the alleged sex attack.
His alleged victim would later flee the country amid claims of a terror campaign carried out by Buczak and McDonough.
The matter has been dragged through the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court again this week as police seek to have the pair put to trial over the events that happened before and after the alleged rape.
Buczak has already pleaded not guilty to raping the woman and will face a jury sometime next year if Covid-19 doesn’t delay matters further.
His Tokyo dream has already been shattered after the International Federation for Equestrian Sports suspended both he and McDonough from all events until the legal proceedings come to their conclusion.
This week the court heard Buczak’s alleged victim had tape recorded her entire encounter with him, including the alleged rape.
Why she had an audio recorder running that night remains unclear.
Her evidence was provided to the court behind closed doors – free from the prying eyes of the public and media.
Alexandra McDonough is accused of helping her boyfriend Callum Buczak intimidate a woman who alleges he raped her
Alexandra McDonough laughs with Callum Buczak as they approach the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in May
Alexandra McDonough (right) faces a series of stalking charges related to her boyfriend Callum Buczak
It is a legal requirement done to protect victims of sexual assaults from being identified to the wider community.
It also has the reverse effect of ensuring only the alleged attackers’ sides of the story get put to print for years on end.
More often than not, the only time an alleged victim’s side of events is heard is via a brief summary read to the jury at the start of a trial and at the end during closing statements.
The media coverage is often brutal, with defence barristers doing their best to discredit and tear down the prosecution case.
Such has been the story with Buczak and McDonough, who have both painted their accuser as a lying, manipulative, jilted lover who set out to destroy their lives after Buczak unceremoniously dumped her and returned to the arms of McDonough.
With the help of her journalist father, the court has heard the pair went about tearing down their careers, sponsorship deals and dreams of success in one of the most dangerous sports going about.
More than 100 deaths a year are estimated to result from equestrian related activities in the United States, with two young riders killed in recent years right here in Australia.
Elite riders are few and far between, and Buczak was considered among them before he was accused of being a rapist.
Alexandra McDonough, 29, of Dromana, is the long-time girlfriend of would-be Olympian rider Callum Buczak, 28, and a champion rider in her own right
Alexandra McDonough, 29, of Dromana, walks hand-in-hand into a Melbourne court in May last year with her long-time boyfriend Callum Buczak, 28, who is an accused of raoe
On Tuesday, Buczak’s barrister Damian Sheales told a preliminary hearing into the stalking matters that the alleged victim was carrying out a vendetta against his client and McDonough.
‘There was no rape, it was consensual,’ Mr Sheales said.
‘He goes to her place to split up … the rape allegedly occurs that night.’
The court heard Buczak immediately cut-off all contact with his alleged victim, which infuriated her.
‘They haven’t split-up obviously in her mind,’ Mr Sheales said. ‘He blocks her on leaving there and she’s texting him … and then it’s just a vendetta. We say it’s just vengeance.’
Mr Sheales told the court the alleged victim had made calculated steps to destroy his client, including using both police and her father.
‘They’re all calculated of her taking her revenge on him,’ Mr Sheales said.
The woman’s father endured an intense grilling from Mr Sheales over two days.
The pair fired barbs at one another as Magistrate Bernard Fitzgerald tried to maintain order.
Mr Sheales accused the dad of using his supposed pull in the media to kill Buczak and McDonough’s livelihoods, reputation and sponsorship deals.
He did so, Mr Sheales claimed, by blackmailing Equestrian Australia and Horseland – Australia’s leading retail equestrian brand – by suggesting that if they didn’t dump the pair he could publicly link them to protecting a rapist.
Callum Buczak is a champion equestrian rider and an accused rapist
He had phoned Horseland within minutes of being told McDonough – who worked for the company – had allegedly been trawling his daughter on Instagram.
Mr Sheales further claimed that the alleged victim’s father himself had been behind a vandalism attack on his daughter’s horse float, which was pinned on Buczak and McDonough.
The float had been keyed and had its rear lights broken during an equestrian event following her split with Buczak.
However, when she reported the incident to police, she made no mention of the broken rear lights.
The court heard CCTV footage of the alleged victim leaving the arena that day further indicated the lights had been working.
Her father denied he or his daughter had caused the damage themselves.
But Mr Sheales wasn’t done yet.
The barrister told the court the alleged victim had falsely claimed McDonough had attempted to run her over while she was out for a jog.
She had claimed McDonough – who was 300kms away and had a sound alibi – knew her running route because she had put it up on Instagram.
‘You’ve ultimately become aware that the allegation was false, and it was three card trick putting up her running route a week before. And you know it,’ Mr Sheales claimed.
Alexandra McDonough remains committed to Callum Buczak, who has been accused of raping a woman last year
‘That’s out of a B-grade detective novel mate,’ the father responded. ‘You gotta do better than that.’
‘Much of this is,’ Mr Sheales replied.
On Friday, Mr Sheales was let loose on the alleged victim, who has repeatedly claimed Buczak and McDonough had embarked on a campaign to get her to suicide.
Police allege McDonough became embroiled in the ugly affair between February 14 and March 2, 2019.
Detectives allege she stalked the victim by using several Instagram profiles to ‘surreptitiously trace (her) online activity’.
Police further claimed Buczak’s girlfriend sent the information she had compiled back to him ‘with the intention of causing mental harm to the victim including self-harm, or of arousing apprehension or fear in the victim for her own safety or safety of another person’.
McDonough, who denies the offending, faces a swag of charges for allegations she perverted the course of justice and stalked the victim.
What transpired between Mr Sheales and the alleged victim will remain a mystery.
For now at least.