Man accused of raping woman ‘told her to wise up’ when challenged over sleeping arrangements

A man from England accused of raping a woman in a Belfast hotel room claims they discussed getting married, a court heard on Thursday.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:28 pm
Laganside court complex in Belfast city centre.

Edward Connors is charged with sexual assaults against an alleged victim he met this week after communicating on social media.

But the 34-year-old defendant insists that all contact with the woman during two days together was consensual.

Connors, of Woodview Lodge, Hitchin Road in Bedfordshire, is accused of three counts of rape between May 10-11.

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Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he had formed an online relationship with the woman before travelling to Northern Ireland.

It was alleged that after checking into a city centre hotel she discovered the room only had one double bed.

When challenged about the sleeping arrangements Connors laughed and told her to “wise up”, according to the woman’s account to police.

She claimed the accused subjected her to repeated sexual assaults before he went out of the hotel, giving her a chance to contact her mother and leave.

Defence solicitor David Jones argued, however, that the complainant’s version of events was full of “gaping holes”.

Stressing the period of time the pair spent together, he told the court: “The defendant is saying check the hotel CCTV, they were there for two days and this was entirely consensual.”

Police checks on Connors’ phone records will back up his case, Mr Jones contended.

He also claimed his client and the woman had talked about building a future together.

“They were going to get married,” he added.

Despite acknowledging the seriousness of the case, Deputy District Judge Liam McStay granted bail on strict terms.

He banned Connors from contacting the alleged victim and ordered a £5,000 cash surety be lodged as part of the release terms.

However, the accused remains in custody pending a prosecution appeal against the decision.