Belfast Telegraph

Bail granted to man accused of raping his pregnant girlfriend

By Alan Erwin

A Belfast man accused of shaving off his pregnant partner's hair and repeatedly raping her can be released on bail, a High Court judge has ruled.

But the 30-year-old is set to be banned from going anywhere near the woman he allegedly attacked while on a three-day crystal meth drug binge.

Madam Justice McBride said: "I think we should have a five or 10-mile exclusion zone."

The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will not be released from custody, where he is on remand, until his bail address is approved by police.

He denies four counts of rape and two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to his long-term partner.

The attack was allegedly carried out at an address in west Belfast last November, but only reported to police in January.

The prosecution claimed the defendant accused his partner of sleeping with other men after using a tracking device to monitor her emails and where she had been. It was alleged he said he would shave her like before if she did not confess, the court heard.

A Crown lawyer said the woman, who was three months' pregnant at the time, began to make admissions to save her hair.

It was claimed the man informed her she would have to get an abortion, before cutting off her pony tail with nail scissors.

He then allegedly produced electric clippers, held her down on the sofa and shaved off her hair as she tried to fight him off.

During the bail hearing, prosecution counsel contended that the man threatened to put a bullet in her head and dump her in a ditch if she tried to run.

It was also alleged he told her he would watch as she was assaulted by the girlfriends of men she admitted sleeping with.

At one stage he punched her in the face, splitting open her eyebrow, and then attempted to seal the wound with super-glue, the court heard.

The man then allegedly dragged her into a bedroom, ordering her to strip and saying he "owned" her. It was claimed that he repeatedly raped her at that point. After her partner fell asleep, the woman fled into the street in her pyjamas and got a taxi to the Royal Victoria Hospital where her wounds were stitched, the prosecution submitted.

Following his arrest, the accused told the police the couple had been partying at a friend's flat over a six-day period, the court heard.

He denied taking drugs and insisted they had consensual sex. He claimed the woman made the rape claims up because she was mentally ill.

Defence counsel argued there were serious discrepancies in the complainant's account, telling the judge the couple reconciled and spent six weeks together after the date of the alleged rape.

The court also heard the accused only discovered during police interviews that he may not be the unborn child's father.

Granting bail, Madam Justice McBride said the exclusion zone would be finalised once an approved bail address is confirmed.

The man must also abide by a curfew, electronic monitoring and an alcohol ban.

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