Man charged with Londonderry rape 'at serious risk'

DERRY Bishop's Street Court house
Image caption Mr Hyland faces a number of charges, all of which he denies

Paramilitaries and members of the public are "baying for the blood" of a man who is charged with rape, police have said.

An officer told Londonderry Magistrates court that the man's "life is seriously at risk"

Aaron Francis Hyland, from Cranbrook Court, Belfast, is charged with raping a 23-year-old woman in a house in Derry on 3 October.

The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest, denies the offence.

'Baying for his blood'

A police officer told the court: "The police are in possession of intelligence indicating his life is seriously at risk. He is aware of this and his mother is aware of this.

"Certain people would be delighted if this man was released on bail to be able to get their hands on him. Paramilitaries and members of the public are baying for his blood," he added.

The court was told that the defendant, who has 64 previous convictions, moved from Belfast to Derry in June.

Replying to the defence barrister, who said that Mr Hyland believed it was safe for him to be bailed to his mother's address in Belfast, the police officer told the court: "Then he is a very foolish and naive person."

Refusing bail the judge said he shared the police concerns for the defendant's safety.

He also said that the defendant's atrocious record led him to believe he would reoffend if he was released on bail.

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