Belfast Telegraph

Dungannon man charged with 'impulsive and sexually motivated ambush attack' in park

The victim was 'grabbed by shoulders and hand placed over her mouth'

A Dungannon man has been refused bail following what was described as “an impulsive and sexually motivated ambush attack” on a woman who was sexually assaulted in Peatlands Park, last week.

James Wright (23) of Derrylee Road was brought to a special sitting of Omagh Magistrates Court with his head covered by a blanket.

A police officer remained in the dock alongside him where he was charged with raping the woman on April 24.

Given the serious nature of the incident police objected to bail.

A detective constable explained the victim was walking her dog at around 2.30pm when she was grabbed by the shoulders and a hand was placed over her mouth.

It is alleged she was told not to scream.

Wright is alleged to have pulled her to the ground before assaulting her.

Enquires were conducted and going by the description given by the victim Wright was arrested at his home - which is a very short distance from Peatlands Park.

A search was conducted of the house and police recovered a black mountain bike and a high visibility jacket – both matching the description given by the victim.

However a third item – a cycle helmet – remains unaccounted for and police believe this may contain further forensic evidence.

During interview, on being asked if he raped the woman, Wright replied, “I don’t want to answer that question.”

Objecting to bail the detective said: “Whilst it is accepted the defendant has no previous we believe he poses a serious risk to the public. Police fear this was a random, impulsive and sexually motivated ambush and the victim was chosen because she was alone."

A defence solicitor criticised the length of time taken to have his client brought to court and stated “Irreparable damage may have been done and could continue if a remand in custody is ordered. He has never been known to police in the past.”

However the detective said Wright was medically examined by a forensic psychiatric and found to be fit for both detention and charge.

The defence added: “My client is an extremely vulnerable gentleman who is in the care of the Health Trust. I believe he should be treated as a juvenile.”

An application was then made to have Wright’s name and address banned from being reported, however this was refused.

District Judge Peter King said, “These are very serious allegations I am particularly concerned about the ambush-style of the attack and the motive of the attacker. There is also the matter of the missing cycling helmet. I do not take decisions to remand in custody lightly but I believe at present it is both proportionate and reasonable.”

Wright was remanded in custody to appear by video-link at Dungannon Magistrates Court on May 18.

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