A man has appeared in court accused of the kidnap and false imprisonment of a woman in Portadown at the weekend.
Lisburn Magistrates Court heard that the woman was allegedly “dragged kicking and screaming” and put into the boot of a car but twice managed to escape from it.
Appearing at court via videolink, 30-year-old Jeffrey Kelly confirmed that he understood the two charges against him.
Kelly, from Brookehill in Lurgan, is accused of the kidnap and false imprisonment of the woman on May 10.
The charges arise following what a police statement described as “some type of altercation or struggle between a man and a woman” in the Kensington Park area of the town at around 9.15am on Sunday.
She managed to run away while Kelly allegedly drove off in a red Audi A4 .
A PSNI detective said he believed he could connect Kelly to each of the charges and that he was objecting to a bail application as he believed the accused could interfere with the investigation.
The suspect, he alleged, had "a desire to prey upon lone females and poses a serious risk to the public.”
The officer described how the victim said she was walking past an alleyway when she was grabbed by a male and dragged “kicking and screaming” towards a red Audi which had been reversed up to the alleyway and left with its boot open.
“She states that she was dragged for about 21 metres to the parked car,” said the officer adding “she was put into the boot by the male” who she described as being about 6’, average build, blonde hair with stubble and wearing dark clothes and a dark hoodie.
The woman managed to get out but her attacker “forced her back in” and as she continued to fight back fiercely, “she managed to kick her way out for a second time” and run away.
A member of the public who heard screaming saw a red Audi A4 driving away while the victim managed to note the registration plate and the court heard that following a police appeal on social media, other women have come forward because “they believe that they were being stalked by this male.”
Police inquiries on the registration plate brought police to Kelly who was arrested, interviewed and picked out of a police video identification parade by the woman he is alleged to have kidnapped.
Kelly denied any involvement in the alleged offences, provided police with two alibi witnesses and claimed there were “at least four” other cars similar to his in the local area.
The detective said police were objecting to bail because they feared he would commit further offences or would interfere with the witness who had been left “extremely shaken” by the incident.
Under cross examination from defence solicitor Gabriel Ingram, the detective agreed that while the victim had made a positive identification of Kelly, the other witness had not picked him out in the line-up.
While he agreed that Kelly “gave two alibi” witnesses, the officer contended that “police believe that these statements actually strengthen the police case” as they place Kelly in the area around the time of the incident.
Mr Ingram submitted that with a “definite alibi” at the time of the incident, Kelly could be freed on bail “with strict conditions” to address police concerns.
Refusing the application however, District Judge Amanda Henderson said the “very serious” offences amounted to “effectively a random enforced snatching of a female from the street.”
She said while she was not trying the case, there was evidence that a car allegedly matching Kelly’s was involved and he had been picked out of a police line-up so “I’m satisfied that there is evidence to connect him.”
Refusing to free Kelly on bail, she had a “real fear that there’s a risk of reoffending” and risk to the public “given the random and persistent nature of the actions on this morning.”
Kelly’s case was adjourned to 5 June.