Belfast Telegraph

Rapist went on the run in Irish Republic because he 'felt ostracised', court told

Edward Gerard Connors attacked an American tourist in Belfast in 2008

A convicted Northern Ireland rapist who was on the run in the Republic felt stigmatised and ostracised, a court heard today.

Edward Gerard Connors, 21, was extradited north of the border for allegedly breaching conditions imposed after serving a prison sentence for the attack on an American tourist in Belfast.

His lawyer argued today that his life has now changed through getting married and becoming a father in the last month.

But a judge refused to grant him bail after declaring she had no confidence he would let himself be properly monitored.

Connors was aged just 15 when he carried out the rape at Colin Glen Forest, west Belfast in 2008.

He first fled to Dublin, but later gave himself up and was sentenced to eight years in prison with two years probation.

Following his release in 2012 he was to stay at a hostel in the city.

But a European Arrest Warrant had to be issued after he allegedly breached his probation terms.

He was eventually detained in the Irish Republic and extradited across the border last week.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court today, it was alleged that he failed to notify police of a change of address and of his intentions to travel outside the UK.

Seeking bail, defence counsel Sean Devine argued that his client was not a hardened criminal.

"He's somebody who was convicted of a very high-profile and unpleasant offence committed when he was a child," the barrister said.

"The position is that he obviously was stigmatised about that."

Mr Devine told District Judge Bagnall that Connors found it difficult to cope with living in a hostel.

"He wasn't used to the cut and thrust of a criminal lifestyle and he was ostracised pretty quickly," the lawyer added.

Connors is now older and understands the repercussions of any further alleged failure to comply with conditions, the court heard.

Mr Devine disclosed: "He's at a different place in his life. He's married with a child."

But despite being prepared to wear an electronic tag and abide by a curfew, bail was refused.

Identifying potential risks that he may flee or re-offend, Judge Bagnall said: "I have no confidence that he will allow himself to be properly monitored."

Connors was remanded into custody to appear again in court next month.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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