Newry sex attacks 'linked to Sean Heaton by DNA'
DNA evidence links an alleged rapist to sex attacks on three different women, the High Court heard on Wednesday.
The victims were all dragged into alleyways and assaulted, according to the prosecution.
The attacks happened in Newry and Warrenpoint, County Down between 2002 and 2006.
Sean Heaton, 46, of John Martin Street, Newry, denies two counts of rape and two counts of attempted rape.
He also denies charges of false imprisonment.
The judge refused bail due to the risk of any further offences being committed.
A lawyer for the prosecution, Fiona O'Kane, said charges were brought after Mr Heaton's DNA was taken in connection with an unrelated domestic incident.
She told the court the first attack happened close to Mr Heaton's home on 13 January, 2002.
The 18-year-old victim was pulled into an alleyway, blindfolded, had her hands bound behind her back and subjected to a prolonged sexual assault, it was claimed.
She was warned she would be scarred so badly her own family would not recognise her if she told anyone.
Mrs O'Kane alleged that Mr Heaton's DNA was matched to samples found on the woman's clothing.
Two years later, on 11 April, 2004, a 21-year-old woman was attacked and dragged into the same laneway.
She had a hat put over her face before struggling and screaming out, the court heard.
It was alleged that her ordeal only ended when she managed to convince her attacker that she was only 16 and still a virgin.
Mrs O'Kane claimed the same method was used in both assaults, which were carried out within metres of each other.
Charges against Heaton also involve a third alleged attack close to his mother's home in the Mourne Drive area of Warrenpoint on 27 August, 2006.
A 42-year-old woman was grabbed from behind and dragged into an alleyway by a man wearing a balaclava and latex gloves.
She fought back and managed to pull a glove off her assailant.
A DNA link to Heaton has again allegedly been established, the court heard.
Opposing bail, Mrs O'Kane claimed each incident involved the same behaviour and level of violence.
Bobbie Rea, defending, said his client unequivocally denied any involvement in the alleged offences.
He argued that Heaton's DNA could have been found at the scenes due to him either living or visiting the area.
"This is not a fait accompli. These are matters that happened in the vicinity of his own back yard," Mr Rea argued.
Refusing bail, Mr Justice Hart ruled that there was a prima facie case against the accused.