‘House of Horrors’ accused refused bail

Court
Court

A man, who police allege is a ‘sexual predator’ and is accused of imprisoning two women, one for more than 13 years, was refused bail at Craigavon Court on Friday.

The 57-year-old, who appeared via video link, sat hunched in a wheelchair and mumbled ‘lunatic’ a number of times during the proceedings.

Objecting to bail, Detective Constable Dixon insisted the applicant was ‘able to sit up no problem’ during police interviews earlier this year.

The man faces a total of 15 charges including five of rape, including rape, aiding and abetting gang rape, three sexual assault, two of voyeurism, two false imprisonment, one indecent assault and a count of human trafficking within the UK.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on dates between January 1999 and January 21 this year.

The constable said there was a ‘significant risk of interfering with witnesses’. She claimed the applicant is ‘extremely controlling and manipulative and one of the injured parties is extremely vulnerable due to her severe learning difficulty’. She said the other injured party had suffered years of abuse.

The police woman claimed the 57-year-old told his victim her mother was dead, that he would pay for the funeral and that her son was under paramilitary threat, all as a ruse to get her back into the house. There was “no evidence” of any death threat, the officer said. Regarding two proposed addresses in England where the defendant could live until his trial, DC Dixon said police had voiced serious concerns - one in Yorkshire because it was close to a mental health institution which housed vulnerable adults. The other was close to sheltered housing for the elderly, revealing that his female co-accused is charged with sexual offences against pensioners. She conceded that while the man was not actively involved on that, police had covered recorded evidence which allegedly showed him witnessing one such incident. She further revealed that according to the police case, the defendant had groomed one of the alleged victims on frequent trips to the mainland.

Defence counsel Andrew Moriarty said there were two cash sureties totalling £18k from the defendant’s son and other family members. “It can be overwhelming when there are so many serious allegations. It could be seen that this could be regarded as a House of Horrors. This is not a court of sexual morality but a court of law,” said Mr Moriarty.

Judge Mervyn Bates refused bail. The defendant was remanded to appear on December 2 via video link.