Belfast Telegraph

Student caught in Derry hotel with girl (14) charged over sex offences

Manjit Rathore appeared before Londonderry Magistrates Court yesterday
Manjit Rathore appeared before Londonderry Magistrates Court yesterday

By George Jackson

A student from England has appeared in a Northern Ireland magistrates court charged with committing a series of sex offences against a 14-year-old girl after he was arrested at a hotel in Londonderry.

Manjit Rathore (18), from Fox Hollie Road, Birmingham, is charged with inciting the girl to engage in penetrative sex, meeting her following sexual grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a child.

Rathmore is also facing charges including child abduction, arranging or facilitating child sex offences, paying for sex with a girl aged 14 and with communicating sexually with a 14-year-old girl.

He is alleged to have committed the offences between June 29 and Tuesday of this week.

The 18-year-old student from England appeared at Londonderry Magistrates Court yesterday.

He was arrested at the Holiday Inn on Strand Road on Wednesday charged with committing a series of sex offences against a 14-year-old girl.

A member of the PSNI's Public Protection Unit told District Judge Barney McElholm that the girl's father reported her missing to the police on Tuesday after she returned home from school and packed a bag.

Following police inquiries, officers went to the Holiday Inn and found her sitting on a bed in a room with the defendant.

The police officer said: "Police believe sexual activity had taken place. We seized two mobile phones, one from the defendant and one from the complainant as well as her laptop computer."

He added the mobile phones showed evidence of two-way sexual communication between the defendant and the girl.

Her father, who reported her missing, told the police the defendant had paid money into her daughter's PayPal account.

"During interview the defendant said he loved her and that she was getting into his head. He said he was fully aware of her age and that they had been introduced to each other by a mutual friend.

"He said he was in love with her and they were boyfriend and girlfriend," the officer said.

The officer said he believed if released on bail the defendant would abscond with the girl to England.

"Both have declared they are in love with each other and that they are partners," he added.

"She has not made a statement of complaint and she has refused to co-operate with the police on the basis that they are in love and that it was wrong for us to arrest him.

"He said he was aware he was committing the offences and he was aware of her age."

Applying for bail, solicitor Paddy MacDermott said if the defendant lived in Northern Ireland he would in all likelihood be granted bail.

Mr MacDermott told the court the defendant had a clear record and his passport was seized.

He said that the sexual communication between the defendant and the girl was at times two-way.

The solicitor added that it could take months for the forensic evidence in the case to be established.

He said the defendant had booked into the hotel until Sunday when he hoped to return to Birmingham.

Mr MacDermott also said "the girl is now very much on the police radar".

In response, the District Judge said it was a premature bail application, which would depend on the outcome of any DNA and forensic results.

"We are talking about a young girl," said Judge Barney McElholm.

"My big fear is that she would make some misguided attempt to run away with him."

Bail was refused by the judge and the defendant was then remanded in custody until January 9 next year.

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