Belfast Telegraph

Medical student's ex-partner allegedly 'set up bogus Facebook profile in her name as part of campaign of harassment'

By Alan Erwin

A medical student's ex-partner allegedly set up a bogus Facebook profile in her name as part of a continuing campaign of harassment, the High Court heard today.

Andrew Hughes sent himself messages from the fake account before coming face to face with her at Queen's University library in Belfast, it was claimed.

Hughes, 23, was previously banned from every hospital in Northern Ireland in a bid to ensure no contact with the alleged victim.

Granting him bail once more, a judge ordered him to keep out of Belfast and imposed a prohibition on any internet access.

Hughes, of Saintfield Road in the city, is charged with breaching an injunction forbidding harassment.

He was first alleged to have followed his ex-partner from Belfast City Hospital into Queen's Students Union on March 5.

That incident happened within days of the woman having secured an injunction against him.

Hughes was released at that stage but barred from both Queen's University Medical Centre and any other NHS hospital.

He was returned to custody, however, following a series of incidents which culminated in the library encounter on April 3.

Hughes claimed he received a telephone voice message from her asking to meet there so that the charges could be dropped.

But in court today, prosecution counsel Conor Maguire contended: "This is very much continuing harassment."

Hughes told police he had taken a verbatim written note of the voice message and also handed over two Facebook messages he said his former girlfriend sent him.

But Mr Maguire advanced a conflicting theory that the accused created an account in her name, complete with her photograph, and then sent messages to himself.

The account is now believed to have been closed.

Mr Justice Horner was told Hughes was in the library for 45 minutes before meeting the woman, and had asked a member of staff if she was there.

"He was not a member of the library and should not have been there without authority," Mr Maguire added.

"The injured party has indicated she is frightened."

Richard McConkey, defending, argued it was possible that his client had been set up.

Re-admitting Hughes to bail, the judge also ordered him to live with his father in Enniskillen and surrender any mobile phone.

Mr Justice Horner acknowledged: "There are some deeply upsetting points here... but this man could be in custody for a very long period of time."

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