Northern Ireland

Londonderry: Man living in Derry accused of rape and human trafficking

Londonderry Magistrates' Court
Image caption The man was charged at Londonderry Magistrates' Court.

A 29-year-old man has appeared at Londonderry Magistrates' Court charged with raping a Romanian woman.

Florin Gheorghe, originally from Bucharest, was arrested at his Meadowbank Court flat in the city on Sunday after the woman went to a police station and made the allegations.

He is also charged with inciting prostitution.

The defendant, who stood in the dock with an interpreter, faces five charges.

He is accused of raping the woman, falsely imprisoning her and assaulting her, occasioning her actual bodily harm.

He is also charged with trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation and with causing or inciting prostitution. The defendant, who denies the charges, is alleged to have committed the offences between 19 June and 24 July.

When the charges were put to the defendant he nodded to confirm he understood them.

Connected

A detective constable in the PSNI's Human Trafficking Unit told the court she believed she could connect the defendant to the five charges. She said the defendant had a pre-prepared statement at the time of his interview in which he denied the allegations and then made no further comment.

The officer confirmed that while the complainant has made a verbal statement, she has not yet made a written nor recorded statement.

The officer said that the complainant was medically examined on Sunday. A defence solicitor said the defendant and the complainant were partners.

"She is pregnant with his child and she is alleged to have discovered infidelity on his part which caused her to make her complaint," he said.

The detective constable said when being medically examined by a doctor on Sunday, the complainant had indicated she had undergone a termination when in Romania.

The officer said that £935 and 610 euros were found in the defendant's flat and the complainant said the cash was earnings she made through prostitution.

The solicitor said the defendant, who has been in Northern Ireland for only five weeks, said he earned the money as a casual labourer in Dundalk.

The solicitor said no bail application was being made because the tenancy of the defendant's flat had expired.

Mr Gheorghe was remanded into custody.