Northern Ireland

Newry rape accused 'gave victim's mobile phone as gift'

A man accused of raping and robbing a woman in Newry after a night out gave her mobile phone to his girlfriend as a present, the High Court has been told.

Prosecutors said the woman was sexually assaulted in a car then thrown onto the streets after accepting a lift home.

Padraig O'Callaghan, 21, of Monog Road, Crossmaglen, denies rape, false imprisonment and stealing her purse, bank cards, £100 in cash and a phone.

Bail was refused to the accused, who claims the woman consented to sex.

The court heard that a car with two men inside pulled up to her and offered her a lift as she walked towards Sugar Island early on 11 December.

She accepted as she assumed she knew them because one of them said her name, the judge was told. It was claimed the doors were locked as the car drove off.

A prosecution lawyer said when the car stopped, the other man got out and Mr O'Callaghan, who was driving, climbed into the back and raped the woman.

Handbag

He said the passenger got back in and the car drove off, with the woman screaming to be let out.

"When they then stopped in Stream Street, the passenger got out and grabbed her from the rear seat and threw her onto the street," he told the court.

He said she ran back to get her belongings and was driven off again to nearby North Street, before being dragged from the car. Her handbag was thrown onto the street, minus its contents, the prosecution told the court.

Swabs taken from the woman matched Mr O'Callaghan's DNA, according to the prosecution.

The court was told that he initially denied any contact with the woman, but had since given a statement claiming to have had consensual sex with her.

An account given by the passenger was said to back his version.

A defence lawyer said the co-accused claimed Mr O'Callaghan and the alleged victim were kissing in the back of the car.

"He got out of the passenger side and stood and waited outside while they had intimacy and sexual intercourse," the barrister said.

But Mr Justice McLaughlin questioned his ability to confirm what happened.

"How does he know?" the judge asked.

"Was he dogging, having a wee duke through the door window while they were doing it?"

Refusing bail, Mr Justice McLaughlin held that the new statements were not a sufficient change of circumstances to warrant release.