Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Man accused of raping hitchhiker on her way to work

A man raped and threatened to tie up a vulnerable hitchhiker who he picked up on her way to work, the High Court has heard.

Robert Samuel Morton is accused of attacking the woman, who is in her 50s, after stopping his van near a forest in Co Fermanagh.

It was claimed that her ordeal ended when screams for help were heard and resulted in a man living nearby coming to investigate.

Morton (59), of Bayview Close, Tamlaght, Enniskillen, denies a charge of raping the woman in the early hours of August 21.

He was granted bail but banned from entering Co Fermanagh to ensure no contact with the alleged victim.

The court heard he stopped on his way back from a country and western concert in Bundoran to give the woman a lift after spotting her hitchhiking.

According to a prosecution barrister, Morton was wearing latex gloves when she got in, taking them off when they came to a police checkpoint. She tried to get out when he stopped close to a |forest near Tempo, but it was claimed that he grabbed her and carried out a sexual assault.

At one stage he allegedly made comments about her age and the likelihood of pregnancy, a prosecution barrister said.

The lawyer continued: “He then said: ‘If you don't stop struggling I'm going to tie you up.’”

The woman was able to get away when a man came to investigate her screaming, the court heard.

She was said to have repeatedly told him: “I was saying my prayers out loud and God must have sent you.”

Following his arrest, Morton said he had been wearing gloves to change a tyre on his vehicle.

Opposing bail, the prosecution |barrister contended: “This was a serious sexual assault perpetrated on a vulnerable older lady as she was travelling to her place of work.”

Defence counsel Michael Boyd stressed that his client denied any attack took place.

He said Morton stopped to let the woman out after becoming uncomfortable with her “bizarre” behaviour.

Mr Boyd claimed that the accused had not even been sure whether the alleged victim was a man or woman.

“He was quite keen to get this person out of his vehicle,” the barrister said.

“He thought nothing more about the journey until he was arrested later.”

Granting bail on £8,000 sureties, Mr Justice McCloskey prohibited the accused from leaving Northern Ireland.

Ordering Morton to have no contact with the alleged victim, the judge further directed: “He will be excluded from Co Fermanagh.”

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