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Derry man charged with raping woman he met online

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A man accused of assaulting and raping a woman he met on an online dating website has been granted bail at Derry Magistrate’s Court.

Robin Curry, 25, of Avish Road in Eglinton, faces charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a female, rape and false imprisonment on April 3, 2021.

The court heard that the alleged victim reported the incident to police on April 6.

She was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where swelling and bruising to her face, eyes and nose was assessed.

A police officer said the complainant met the defendant online, they had a date on the beach on March 21 and organised to meet again on April 4 when she planned to ‘cook a meal’.

Whilst in the alleged injured party’s home, a police officer said, Curry displayed ‘aggressive and controlling’ behaviour.

The court was told that Curry took the woman’s phone and followed her to the bathroom.

The officer added that he drank full glasses of wine in one go and refused to eat dinner.

She submitted that the alleged victim offered to make the defendant something else to eat and when he refused the woman joked by asking if was in poor health.

At that point it’s alleged that Curry headbutted the woman on the nose, grabbed her by the neck and headbutted her again.

The court heard that the complainant attempted to alert neighbours by banging on the wall but the defendant ‘covered her mouth, drove his fingers into her eyes and squashed her face’.

According to the police officer the woman used ‘reverse psychology’ by telling the 25-year-old, ‘go ahead and kill me’, while she was in ‘genuine fear for her life’.

It’s alleged that Curry then made demands by asking the woman to rub his back which she did.

The PSNI officer said the woman confirmed she had sex with Curry while still in ‘fear for her life’ and he left the following afternoon.

She added that the complainant didn’t immediately inform police but decided to after speaking to a friend who advised her to attend hospital.

Medical staff were unable to assess the damage to her nose due to the swelling but suspected it was broken.

The officer stated: “The victim is having difficulty comprehending that she was the victim of rape.  She’s in a state of shock.  She’s having difficulty seeing out of her eyes and reading.”

Curry was subsequently arrested and interviewed on three occasions.

He admitted going to her house but denies the offences.

The 25-year-old said he observed dark marks below her eyes when they met.

Under questioning he said the complainant mentioned ‘doing some kickboxing’ and he wasn’t sure if the injuries arose from that.

The court heard Curry has 12 convictions including those for violent offending.

The officer made reference to other domestic incidents and an alleged sexual assault in the past.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney objected to details of those allegations being read out in court.

When asked if that case was pending, the officer said it was relevant because the ‘modus operandi was very similar’.

She told the court that the alleged victim in that case is now deceased.

Objecting to bail, she added that Curry poses a ‘significant risk, particularly to females’ and in the past has been accused of offences against woman as far away as Portadown.

Defence counsel said his client denies all charges and maintains that the sex was consensual.

Mr Mooney submitted that the complainant has made an ‘oral complaint’ but ‘no formal statement’.

Police said it was normal procedure to give the alleged victim some time and anticipate a statement being made next week.

Defence counsel questioned why the victim had said they met at the property whenever the defendant told police they met at a shop in town before going there.

Police observed CCTV and found they had met in town.

Mr Mooney insisted that there are ‘two sides to the story’.

The defence barrister said there will be no issue with Curry attending court, adding that the trial will not take place for ‘at least 18 months given the nature of the offences and current backlog’.

He pointed to the absence of a formal statement as a ‘precursor to potential delays’.

Mr Mooney argued that his client is entitled to be at liberty until matters are investigated.

He concluded by saying that while Curry’s record is ‘not impressive’ it is ‘not persistently bad’ and his address is a ‘considerable distance’ outside the city.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers described it as a ‘very difficult exercise’ as she has ‘some concerns’ about the defendant meeting women online and vehicle usage.

She decided to grant the defendant his own bail of £750 with a £750 surety.

Conditions include no contact with the complainant, a prohibition on alcohol and drugs, a curfew of 10pm-8am and he is not to be in a private motor vehicle.

The case will appear before the court again on May 6.

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