Newry man ‘locked car doors before sex attack on woman’

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A woman was allegedly locked in a car and subjected to a “predatory” sexual assault during a night out in Newry, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed she was driven to a quiet country road and attacked after her friends had been dropped off.

A judge was told businessman Noel Watters, 50, is allegedly linked by semen found on her dress.

Watters, of Drumgullion Avenue in the city, denies charges of sexual assault, false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He claims only to have consensually kissed the woman after she asked if he wanted to go with her for a “court”.

Bail was refused due to the risk of any further offences and amid concerns for his mental health.

Watters tried to commit suicide by driving his van into Newry Canal days after the alleged attack on September 9, the court heard.

Fiona O’Kane, prosecuting, said the woman had been out for a meal with two female friends at a bar in the city.

One of the others arranged for Watters to give all three of them lifts home, according to the case against him.

Mrs O’Kane claimed he dropped the other two off and then ignored directions given by the alleged victim – who did not know him.

Watters parked at an isolated location and locked the car doors, it was claimed.

The barrister alleged that he pinned the woman down and repeatedly tried to kiss her before carrying out the sexual assault.

“He then fixed his clothes, got back off her and drove her home without saying anything,” Mrs O’Kane told the court.

Watters was arrested after the woman went to police days later.

He claimed the pair had only kissed consensually in the car for up to 20 minutes before she was left home.

But Mr Justice Colton was told DNA tests confirmed Watters semen was on the woman’s clothing.

Mrs O’Kane contended that the alleged attack had been “violent and predatory”.

Defence counsel confirmed Watters – a self-employed industrial products salesman – will be contesting the charges.

He argued that the forensic evidence does not prove the allegations.

Refusing bail, however, Mr Justice Colton held there was a prima facie case against Watters.

He said: “I would have very serious concern that if released there’s a danger of further offences of this type being committed.”