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Belfast man who raped woman in Derry and caused life-threatening injuries faces long jail term

By George Jackson

A man who raped a woman in an attack so severe that he caused life-threatening injuries has been told by a judge at the Crown Court in Derry to expect a significant sentence.

Aaron Hyland (22), from Katherine's Road, Ballymurphy, Belfast, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to his 25-year-old victim in her home on the night of October 3, 2014.

The court was told that the nature of the injuries inflicted by Hyland meant that her chances of ever conceiving were very low.

The prosecutor said when paramedics were called by a neighbour of the victim to her home they found her unconscious in the bedroom.

She was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital, but because of the extent of her injuries surgeons initially thought she would not survive.

The barrister said both the defendant and his victim had earlier consumed diazepam and a large amount of alcohol, and there had been a degree of flirtation between them.

She said, thankfully, the victim remembered nothing about the serious assaults committed against her, and only became aware of what had happened when she woke up in hospital the following day.

The prosecutor said because of the nature of the injuries the victim, who was in court with members of her family, has been diagnosed with "severe adjustment reaction".

She said Hyland, who was arrested at the scene, had been assessed as not presenting a serious risk to the public. Judge Philip Babington said he considered disagreeing with that assessment, but he said he would give Hyland the benefit of the doubt.

A defence barrister said in a pre-sentence report Hyland told a probation officer "there is not a day that I don't think about it and about the lasting life-long injuries I have caused to her".

He said it was Hyland who called for an ambulance on the night. "Thank God he did react in the way that he did on the night, otherwise the consequences could have been much more serious", the barrister said.

Judge Babington said Hyland had initially claimed it was "a consensual sexual incident which went wrong". He said because of her condition, the victim was not in a position to give her consent.

Judge Babington said Hyland maintained a "no comment" attitude during police interviews before handing detectives a prepared statement which the judge described as "another version of lies".

Hyland, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), was remanded in custody until sentencing on February 15.

"This is obviously a very serious case and a significant sentence will be handed down then", Judge Babington added.

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