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Boy aged 15 accused of raping girl in Northern Ireland park while she was drunk

By George Jackson

A 15-year-old boy has been released on bail after appearing before Londonderry Magistrates Court charged with raping a 17-year-old girl.

The alleged incident took place at St Columb's Park in the Waterside area of the city last Friday night.

Members of the youth's family were in court yesterday for the hearing before District Judge Oonagh Mullan. The youth denies the rape charge.

A detective constable in the PSNI's Child Protection Unit told the court that the girl told police she went to the park at 6.30pm on Friday with friends. She drank half a bottle of vodka and a quarter bottle of rum, and by 10.30pm she was drunk.

She met the defendant, who she knew, and they went for a walk together. The girl said the defendant kissed her on the neck and tried to pull down her tights. She asked him to stop but he pushed against her and they both fell into bushes, where he allegedly raped her.

The police witness said because of her drunken condition, the girl could not fight the defendant off. She said after the alleged rape one of the girl's friends went looking for the defendant but could not find him. The friend then phoned for a taxi to take the girl home.

The detective constable said two police officers who spoke to the girl said she was in pain, crying and upset. Her tights were torn around her crotch area and they were twisted and hanging below her denim skirt.

The two police officers also saw what appeared to be thorns on the backs of her lower legs and skirt and there were small blades of grass attached to her torn tights. She also had nettle stings to her legs and multiple injuries to her upper thighs, buttocks, back and wrists.

The detective constable said the defendant was interviewed by the police twice over the weekend. In his first interview, he said he had consumed four bottles of beer but that he was not drunk. He said he knew the girl and knew she was drunk, and told the police that she had sustained her stings and injuries after she had fallen down a slope because of her drunken condition.

The youth denied raping the girl and in his second interview he said they had engaged in sexual activity, to which she had consented. He admitted straddling her chest and touching her on the chest and in the genital area.

"He said he then told her to fix her clothes and said she was not upset but quiet," the police witness said.

The officer said when asked by the two police officers if the girl had consented, the defendant replied "she didn't say no".

Opposing bail, the police witness said the girl's statement was "consistent with the suspect leading a drunk girl off by herself to rape her".

She said more witnesses had yet to be interviewed and she believed the defendant could interfere with witnesses. She also said the forensics element of the police investigation was at an early stage.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Tom McClafferty said the forensic evidence would take months to complete and it would therefore be unjust to remand the defendant in custody pending the outcome of that evidence.

Mr McClafferty said the defendant was willing to abide by any court imposed bail conditions, including living outside of the city.

The district judge said she was "concerned about the safety of this defendant, given what has been said in court today".

She released the defendant on his own bail of £200 together with a cash surety of £500 until his next court appearance on May 23.

As part of his bail conditions the defendant was banned from consuming alcohol and from possessing a mobile phone.

He was ordered to live at an agreed address outside the city and not to enter within the 30 mph zone except for court appearances. He was additionally ordered not to contact any witnesses in the case.

The district judge said she was not ordering the defendant to be electronically tagged, because if the tag was seen by school colleagues that could identify him and lead to the possible identification of the girl.

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