Northern Ireland

'Fleadh market trader sexually assaulted'

A market trader was sexually attacked by a man after he rented her a room for the All-Ireland fleadh in Londonderry, it was claimed in the High Court.

The woman alleges that Ahmed Bouazzi pinned her down in bed and told her all men wanted to do what he was doing.

Mr Bouazzi, a 28-year-old Tunisian national with an address at Woodvale Mews, Derry, faces charges of sexual assault and possession of cannabis.

The judge refused his application for bail as "wholly unmeritorious".

The alleged victim came to Derry earlier this month to sell items during the festival of Irish traditional music and dance.

After inquiring about finding a place to stay, she met Mr Bouazzi and agreed to rent a room for £50, the court heard.

It was claimed that he turned up drunk at the flat in the Kular Court area early on 14 August and got into her bed.

Prima facie case

The prosecution said Mr Bouazzi is alleged to have climbed on top of the woman, held her down by her wrists and carried out the sexual assault.

"He told her he liked her, that he needed this as he had been alone for a long time, that it was natural and that all men wanted to do what he was doing," the lawyer said.

The woman claimed he agreed to stop if she did not tell anyone what had happened.

She then left the flat and went back to her stall before staying in a friend's van.

Police who arrested Mr Bouazzi also found some suspected herbal cannabis on him, the court heard.

A defence barrister confirmed that the sexual assault allegation is being denied.

"I accept there's a strong prima facie case against the applicant," he said.

Refusing bail, the judge described the alleged attack on a visitor to the city as "absolutely deplorable".

"It's one of the most unmeritorious applications I have heard in a long time," he said.