Northern Ireland

Rape accused claims 'all was consensual'

A man charged with raping and attempting to murder his pregnant partner claimed everything took place consensually, a court heard.

He is also accused of two counts of sexual assault, actual bodily harm and threatening to kill the woman.

He faces two further charges of assaulting police and one of damaging a PSNI van.

The alleged offences occurred in Mallusk, County Antrim, early on Sunday.

The accused, 34, from Co Antrim, cannot be named to protect the alleged victim's identity.

He sobbed and shook his head as he appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court and confirmed he understood the charges.

Bail was opposed due to police claims that he poses a risk to women in the community.

A detective constable expressed fears that the accused may interfere with the alleged victim or witnesses in the case, understood to be children.

While in custody he also disclosed his intention to self-harm once released, the court heard.

A defence lawyer stressed that it was a domestic-type incident. "There is no question of this man preying on women at large," he said.

The solicitor added: "These matters were part and parcel of a relationship which this couple had. This lady is pregnant with this man's child.

"My instructions are that everything which occurred, save for the matters with police, was by consent and no rape or attempted murder occurred."

Despite being told the accused could live with his sister, District Judge Fiona Bagnall denied bail due to the risk of interference with witnesses.

He was remanded in custody to appear again by video link in four weeks time.