Man accused of carrying out a 'predatory' rape in Belfast city centre refused bail
A man was remanded in custody today accused of carrying out a "predatory" rape in Belfast city centre.
Pondai Bamu, 37, allegedly attacked the woman at Rosemary Street as she waited for a friend to collect her in the early hours of September 24.
The defendant, a Zimbabwean national, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court to face charges of rape and sexual assault.
He was refused bail amid fears he could flee or potentially re-offend.
Bamu, of Malrborough Avenue in the city, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges.
Opposing his release, an investigating detective said it was due to "the predatory nature of the offences".
She said the alleged attack was carried out in a dark alleyway after the woman's friend told her he was on his way to pick her up.
Police also revealed that he left Northern Ireland and spent a period in the north of England following the alleged rape.
However, a defence lawyer told the court: "His account consistently was that this was a consensual act."
He added that one of Bamu's relatives was prepared to let him stay at her address in Co Armagh.
But District Judge Fiona Bagnall denied bail based on concerns the accused may leave the jurisdiction.
Citing further reasons for her decision, she said: "Given the nature of the offence and the information put before the court at this stage there's a predatory nature to the offence."
Bamu was remanded in custody to appear again by video link on December 9.