'Predatory' rape suspect is refused bail
A man charged with the "predatory" rape of a teenage boy in west Belfast must remain in custody, a judge has ruled.
Gerard Scannell (39) was refused bail amid claims his own safety could be at risk due to outcry over the alleged attack.
Scannell, from Ballymurphy Road in the city, denies three counts of rape and one of sexual assault. He is alleged to have attacked the 16-year-old boy in the Falls Park on July 16.
Belfast Magistrates Court heard Scannell is forensically linked to a T-shirt found near the scene of the alleged incident. Refusing bail, District Judge Fiona Bagnall raised concerns over Scannell wanting to stay at an address where four children live. Citing the risks of re-offending and interference with witnesses, she added: "At this stage it's been put forward to me as a predatory rape and sexual offences against a vulnerable stranger."
Scannell was remanded in custody to appear in court again next month.