Northern Ireland news

Man charged with rape and attempted murder

A detective told Derry Magistrate's Court that a case where a man is charged with rape and attempted murder "came close to being a murder."

Sean Mark Anthony Hegarty (27), of Balliniska Heights in Derry, appeared on seven charges relating to an attack on April 6 and 7.

Hegarty was charged with the rape and attempted murder of a woman between those dates.

He was also charged with causing her grievous bodily harm, attempting to choke her, administering a substance to her with sexual intent and perverting the course of justice.

A police officer opposed bail.

He told the court that around 2.30am on Sunday police received a 999 call from a member of the public who had found a "distressed female" in the Northland Road area who alleged she had been raped and drugged.

The police found ligature marks around the woman's neck and her tongue was swollen indicating choking.

She also had fractures to her cheek and eyes, a bleed on the brain and other injuries consistent with rape.

She told police she had been in the defendant's flat and so police went there and found Hegarty just out of the shower.

The officer said there was evidence "of a deep clean up" with bleach and wipes being found.

The court was told that a cover was removed from a sofa with stains having seeped through to the sponge and police believe it was blood.

The alleged injured party told police she was choked "with a white rope."

At interview Hegarty admitted the woman had been there but said she fell.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley asked was there CCTV showing the woman leaving Hegarty's flat in which she did not look distressed.

The officer said there was but he added she was covered up so it was not possible to say if she was distressed or not.

The solicitor also asked was there a time lapse between her leaving the flat and being found and was told there was about an hour.

The officer said bloodstained clothing had also been found in the flat believed to have come from the alleged injured party.

The police officer said the woman also believed she had been drugged.

District Judge Barney McElholm said: "Suffice to say I do not consider this man to come anywhere near a suitable candidate for bail."

He remanded Hegarty in custody to appear again on April 16.

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