Belfast man ‘raped and shaved off pregnant partner’s hair’

Court
Court

A Belfast man accused of shaving off his pregnant partner’s hair and repeatedly raping her can be released on bail, a High Court judge has ruled.

But the 30-year-old is set to be banned from going anywhere near the woman he allegedly attacked while on a three-day crystal meth drugs binge.

Madam Justice McBride said: “I think we should have a five or 10-mile exclusion zone.”

The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will not be released from custody until his bail address is approved by police.

He denies four counts of rape and two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to his long-term partner.

The alleged attack was carried out at an address in west Belfast last November, but only reported to police in January.

According to the prosecution he accused her of sleeping with other men after using a tracking device to monitor her emails and where she had been.

He allegedly warned that if she didn’t confess he would shave her like before, the court heard.

A Crown lawyer said the woman, who was three months pregnant at the time, began to make admissions in a bid to save her hair.

It was claimed the man informed her she would have to get an abortion before cutting off her pony tail with nail scissors.

He then allegedly produced electric clippers, held her down on the sofa and shaved off her hair as she tried to fight him off.

During the bail hearing prosecution counsel contended that the man threatened to put a bullet in her head and dump her in a ditch if she tried to run.

He also allegedly told her he would watch as she was assaulted by the girlfriends of men she had admitted sleeping with.

At one stage he punched her in the face, splitting open her eyebrow and then attempting to seal the wound with superglue, the court heard.

The man then allegedly dragged her into the bedroom, ordering her to strip and saying he “owned” her.

It was claimed that he repeatedly raped her at that point.

After her partner fell asleep the woman fled into the street in her pyjamas and got a taxi to the Royal Victoria Hospital where her wounds were stitched, the prosecution submitted.

Following his arrest the accused told police the couple had been partying at a friend’s flat over a six-day period, the court heard.

He denied taking drugs and insisted they had consensual sex during that period.

He claimed the woman made the rape allegations up because she is mentally ill.

Defence counsel argued there were serious discrepancies in the complainant’s account, telling the judge that the couple reconciled and spent six weeks together after the date of the alleged rape.

The court also heard the accused only discovered during police interviews that he may not be the unborn child’s father.

Granting bail, Madam Justice McBride said the extent of the exclusion zone will be finalised once the approved address is confirmed.

The man must also abide by a curfew, electronic monitoring and an alcohol ban.

The judge warned him that any breach will lead to him being returned to prison.