Belfast Telegraph

Child-like rapist terrified victim with ambush in park, court told

By Staff Reporter

A finding of fact hearing has commenced at Dungannon Crown Court in respect of an alleged sexual attack at Peatlands Park in the town last year.

The accused, James Wright, had been found unfit for criminal trial, which led to the finding of fact procedure.

The 24-year-old, from Derrylee Road in Dungannon, was refused bail but later released to a secure hospital.

Dressed in a grey shirt and black trousers, he was accompanied in the dock by two specialist medical staff throughout proceedings.

There are a total of six alleged offences arising from the incident on the afternoon of April 27 last year, which happened as the victim walked in Peatlands Park on the outskirts of Dungannon.

These involve three counts each of rape and sexual assault over what was previously described as "an ambush attack".

The case opened with the victim's video-interview played to the court in which she explained what occurred.

She recalled walking her dog in the park around 2.30pm, when she was grabbed by the shoulders, leading her to scream loudly.

A hand was placed over her mouth and, realising she was entirely alone and no help was coming, she resigned herself to the situation.

The woman was terrified and thought it best to be compliant as she could not be sure if the attacker had a weapon.

Wright allegedly pulled her to the ground, took off her clothes, removed his trousers and shoes, then sexually assaulted her.

Realising the attacker was of low intellect and "child-like", the victim tried to talk to him.

She asked his name, but he replied: "I can't tell you that. You will tell someone and I'll get into trouble."

When the attack ended, the police were contacted.

Wright was later arrested at his home, a short distance from Peatlands Park.

A social worker who was previously engaged with Wright and his family gave evidence to say she attended their home on a routine visit the day before the attack.

A detective from the rape crime unit was next to give evidence, and explained she travelled to Wright's home at 1am on April 29, accompanied by the investigating officer and uniformed police.

The investigating officer said she too found the property, "extremely run down".

Wright was arrested and taken to Dungannon custody suite.

Under defence cross-examination, the investigating officer confirmed Wright had no previous record.

The hearing will continue next week.

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