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Man in court charged with trafficking and raping a woman in Belfast

By Alan Erwin

A mechanic was remanded in custody on Thursday charged with trafficking and raping a woman in Belfast.

Romanian national Alin Rotariu is also accused of imprisoning the same alleged victim.

The 38-year-old, of Larkstone Street in south Belfast, was arrested as part of a police investigation into suspected human trafficking.

Officers received a report that a woman was being assaulted outside a house in the city on Tuesday evening.

Rotariu appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court to face a total of 10 charges.

He is accused of arranging of facilitating the woman's travel in September 2015 with a view to her being exploited.

Further charges relate to her alleged false imprisonment and rape between January 1, 2016 and April 25, 2017.

Rotariu is also charged with sexual assault, threats to kill, common assault and possession of an offensive weapon, namely a knife, with intent to commit assault. 

Three other counts relate to concealing, possessing and converting criminal property - £940 in cash.

Speaking through a translator, he acknowledged the allegations but insisted they are denied.

The court heard Rotariu told interviewing police: "None of the charges are true, they are all lies."

Defence solicitor Jim Sheridan added that the case related to a dispute between his client and the alleged victim.

"He certainly doesn't accept these charges," the lawyer said.

Mr Sheridan questioned an investigating detective in a bid to find out if the woman is still in the Belfast area.

He explained that he wanted to know for the purpose of a future bail application.

But the detective replied: "At the minute all I can say is that she is still co-operating with police.

"She is in secure accommodation at present."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall remanded Rotariu in custody to appear again by video-link in a week's time.

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