Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of rapes and sex assaults refused bail

By Paul Higgins

A man is in custody after appearing in court accused of a horrific catalogue of sex crimes against two women over a period of 13 years.

Appearing in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court, the accused leaned on a walking stick and stared at the floor throughout a half-hour hearing on Saturday morning.

The 57-year-old from Craigavon – who cannot be identified to protect the two alleged victims who lived with him – faces a total of 15 counts including five of rape, aiding and abetting gang rape, three of sexual assault, two of voyeurism, two false imprisonment, one indecent assault and human trafficking within the UK.

All the offences are alleged to have occurred on dates between January 1999 and January 21 this year.

Detective Constable Dixon told the court she believed she could connect the man to the charges, adding that police were strenuously opposed to his release on bail. The officer said the defendant had exerted "manipulation and control" over the two victims who had suffered years of "domestic and sexual abuse" at his hands.

She said that if released, police feared he would use his influence over them to interfere with the witnesses, one of whom she said was "particularly vulnerable" as she suffered from mental health difficulties.

The charges of sexual assault allege that the victim could not have objected to being touched due to a mental health disorder.

DC Dixon said police had fears over the defendant's own health as he had "refused to eat in police custody" and that if released, such would be the "shock and outrage in the community" that he would be in danger.

Under cross examination from the man's solicitor, the officer agreed that he had been on bail since January when first charged with false imprisonment and that both women were now "in houses of safety".

She added, however, that it was only last Thursday that the more serious accusations of sex abuse came to light.

The solicitor submitted that his client had been on bail with no breaches, suffered serious health problems and had claimed during 20 police interviews that anything sexual which occurred had been "consensual".

Refusing the bail application however, District Judge Alan White said he shared police concerns over the potential interference with the witnesses and remanded the man to appear again via video link on October 25.

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