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Alleged Belfast rapist 'seen following victim on CCTV', court told

Published 16/11/2015

Rosemary Street, off Royal Avenue in Belfast
Rosemary Street, off Royal Avenue in Belfast

CCTV footage shows an alleged rapist following the victim through Belfast city centre, the High Court heard today.

Pondai Bamu, 37, is accused of attacking the woman after she became separated from friends on a night out.

A judge was also told how her boyfriend chased him when he heard screaming and arrived at the scene.

Bamu, a Zambian national of Marlborough Avenue in Belfast, faces charges of raping and sexually assaulting the woman in the early hours of September 24.

He denies the offences, insisting the encounter was completely consensual.

But bail was refused due to fears he may flee if released.

The court heard claims that he was seen on CCTV footage trailing the woman though the city centre.

At one point there was said to be an interaction near Royal Avenue before she ran towards Rosemary Street.

Prosecutors alleged that Bamu went after her and forced her into a shop doorway before carrying out the sex attack.

By that stage, it was claimed, she had phoned her boyfriend asking him to come and collect her.

He arrived, heard the screams and pursued the man accused of rape, the court heard.

Following the incident Bamu, who worked in a call centre, was said to have taken leave from his job, claiming he was visiting family in Africa.

Instead, however, he travelled to Newcastle Upon Tyne, according to the prosecution.

He was arrested following his return to Northern Ireland.

Citing concerns about him leaving the jurisdiction again, Mr Justice Deeny said: "I consider it is my duty to refuse bail in all the circumstances."

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