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Vulnerable woman's head shaved in 'a depraved act' in Ballymena



A man told his partner he loved her before he and two other men dry-shaved a vulnerable woman's head as she lay unconscious, a court has been told.

Nathan Telford was allegedly filmed on a mobile phone taking part in the attack on the woman, who has learning difficulties.

The incident was described in court as "utterly depraved". During a bail hearing for one of the accused at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday, a police officer said Telford was in a relationship with the woman.

Telford (22), of Beechwood Avenue, Ahoghill, is accused of unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on the woman, attempted grievous bodily harm, and common assault.

Three other people – Paul Joshua Balmer (41), whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry; Alister William Hamilton (22), of Shane Court, Broughshane, and Paula Wilson (20), of no fixed abode, face the same charges on a date between May 18 and May 22 this year.

The police officer told the court that video footage – allegedly taken by Wilson on her mobile phone – showed Telford saying "I love you" before the woman had her eyebrow shaved.

Describing her as "vulnerable", the police officer said the woman had been "in fear" of going to Ballymena since the incident.

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All accused were refused bail.

Charges were brought against the four after Wilson's mobile telephone was seized in October by detectives investigating an unrelated matter.

The incident involving the vulnerable woman was not reported at the time because the victim, who has been granted anonymity, was too frightened.

At a previous hearing a police officer said video footage and still photographs downloaded from a phone showed the woman lying unconscious at Telford's flat at Ballymoney Road, Ballymena.

"Her hair was shaved while she lay unconscious," he said at the earlier hearing. "Dry-shaved by three males while Ms Wilson videoed the whole thing."

The court heard claims she woke up partially clothed with her hair nearly all removed and her face scrawled over with black ink.

The detective said when she came round she was ordered out of the flat by Telford and returned to her home, outside Ballymena.

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