Belfast Telegraph

Man denies sex attack on woman in Belfast

By John Cassidy

A 38-year-old man from England has gone on trial accused of a serious sexual assault in Belfast city centre last year.

Pondai Bamu, of Newcastle Upon Tyne, denied charges of raping and sexually assaulting the woman at his trial at the city's Crown Court.

Prosecutor Rosemary McCormick QC told the jury the woman left her Co Down home on September 23 last year for a night out with two female friends.

The court was told she became separated from her friends after leaving Thompson's Garage at around 2.30am.

The lawyer said the 24-year-old drank three glasses of wine before leaving home, followed by three cocktails, two vodka and oranges, a WKD blue and two sambucas in Belfast.

A witness found her sitting on High Street beside Dunnes Stores "rocking from side to side" with the contents of her handbag on the road.

The man later told police that he tried to help and phoned her mother and her boyfriend as the woman could not hold her phone properly. He also said he tried to get her a taxi.

"Mr Bamu (then) arrived on the scene," said the prosecutor. The two men, who were work colleagues, headed to McDonald's and left the woman in the street. As they queued for food, Bamu went back out to find the woman, the court heard.

Her boyfriend had contacted her by phone and told her he was coming to collect her, it was said.

As she went to meet her boyfriend, Mrs McCormick said the witness told police "she was concerned she was being followed".

A one-minute piece of CCTV footage was played to the jury which showed the woman running down an alley off Rosemary Street, pursued by Bamu.

The prosecutor said Bamu sexually assaulted her before forcing her to perform a sex act on him.

The court heard she "resisted and screamed for help" and bit him on the genitals "really hard".

Mrs McCormick told the jury that the woman's boyfriend arrived and heard a voice shouting "get away from me, stop it". He saw a man and shouted at him and the man ran off.

The court heard that Bamu was arrested two months later in Newcastle Upon Tyne and flown back to Belfast for questioning.

During interviews, Bamu denied sexually assaulting or raping the woman, claiming it was consensual. The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph


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