Northern Ireland

Belfast: William George McVeigh charged with raping 14-year-old girl

Belfast court complex
Image caption The accused is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court later

A 26-year-old man has appeared in court charged with raping a 14-year-old girl in north Belfast at Halloween.

William George McVeigh is accused of attacking the teenager near Woodvale Park during the early hours of Saturday, 31 October.

A detective constable told the court it was a "highly emotive case" in the Shankill area and objected to bail to protect both the girl and the accused.

The judge remanded Mr McVeigh, of Forthriver Green, Belfast, in custody.

He said he was "concerned about the vulnerability of the 14-year-old witness".

The judge also refused a request from a defence lawyer to impose reporting restrictions on Mr McVeigh's identity.

The lawyer said it was the accused's case that he had believed the teenager was older than 14.

The police officer told the court the girl first reported the attack to her mother and sister.

Since then, the teenager has been medically examined and police recorded her witness statement.

Mr McVeigh was remanded into custody to appear again via videolink on 18 December.