MAN REMANDED CHARGED WITH RAPING AND SEXUALLY ABUSING WOMEN

Man has faced Lisburn Magistrates Court over rape and sex abuse offences against a number of women

Man has faced Lisburn Magistrates Court over rape and sex abuse offences against a number of women

A MAN has faced a court on Saturday charged with a litany of serious sex crimes against women.

The offences stretch back over a 14 year period and one of the women has severe learning difficulties.

However, the sex allegations only to light this week when the women told police.

The 57-year-old defendant stood in the dock at a special sitting of Lisburn Magistrates Court on Saturday morning.

He was formally charged with a series of sexual offences and the false imprisonment of two women.

The offences are alleged to have taken place in the Craigavon area of Co Armagh between January 1999 and January 2013.

The man, whose name cannot be released, faces a total of 15 charges.

They include:

* five counts of rape, aiding and abetting gang rape;

* three of sexual assault;

* two of voyeurism;

* two of false imprisonment;

* one indecent assault;

* and one offence of human trafficking within the UK.

A detective constable told the special court that police believed the suspect had exerted “manipulation and control” over the two victims who had suffered years of “domestic and sexual abuse” at his hands.

She said that if released, police feared he would use his influence over them to interfere with the witnesses, one of whom she said was “particularly vulnerable” to intimidation.

The detective said police had fears over the defendant’s own health as he had “refused to eat in police custody”.

She added that if released his life would be in danger such would be the “shock and outrage in the community”.

Under cross-examination from the man’s solicitor, the officer agreed that he had been on bail since January when first charged with false imprisonment and that both women were now “in houses of safety”.

She added, however, that it was only last Thursday that the more serious accusations of sex abuse came to light.

The accused’s solicitor said his client had been on bail with no breaches, suffered serious health problems and had told police during interviews that anything sexual which occurred had been “consensual”.

Refusing the bail application however, District Judge Alan White said he shared police concerns over the potential interference with the witnesses.

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