An 18-year-old man has been remanded in custody after he was found in an hotel room in Derry with a 14-year-old girl.
Manjit Rathore, whose address was given as Fox Hollies Road in Birmingham, England, faced a number of child sex charges when he appeared at the city's Magistrate's Court.
He was charged with engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16, child abduction, encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity, paying a child for sex and sexual grooming.
The offences are said to have occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday last, 17 and 18 December, while the grooming and communication offences are alleged to have been between 19 June and 18 December.
Opposing bail, a PSNI officer said the child was reported missing on Tuesday last by her father who said she came home from school, “packed a bag and disappeared.”
Police traced her a city centre hotel and when they entered the room they found Rathore and the girl together.
The officer said police had reason to believe sexual activity had taken place.
The court was told mobile phones were siezed and an examination revealed sexual communication had taken place between the pair.
He said the defendant had also sent money to the girl using her PayPal account.
The officer said during interview, Rathore told police the sexual communication had been instigated by the girl but the officer said he believed some of it had been instigated by the accused.
He said Rathore claimed he had met the girl on an internet site and “she had got into his head” and he was fully aware of her age
Stating the accused told police he saw himself and the girl as “boyfriend and girlfriend.” The officer told the court the girl was refusing to co-operate with police , saying they were “in love” and Rathore should not have been arrested.
Bail was opposed on the grounds there could be interference with the case, risk of re-offending and the defendant might not turn up for trial.
Defence solicitor, Paddy MacDermott, said Rathore denied any sexual activity had taken place.
He said the accused would maintain the sexual communication was instigated by the girl and also that he only sent a small amount of money to her.
Mr MacDermott said the defendant's passport had been siezed and added that if the case had involved a local man, he probably would have been released on police bail. The court was told that Rathore had a return ticket to Birmingham and was “very aware” coming to Derry was “wrong.”
Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said forensics would reveal if there had been sexual contact or not.
He said “this somewhat misguided young girl” might try and go to England to see the defendant.
He said the PSNI should exert influence to try and get the forensics expedited as “if it goes one way he will certainly not be getting bail from me but if it goes the other way that is a different matter.” He said checking for DNA did not take days and would help the case progress.
Describing the bail application as “premature,” he refused the bail application and remanded Rathore in custody to appear again on 9 January.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com at any time.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from Derrynow.com
Buy the e-paper of the Derry News and the County Derry Post here for instant access to Derry's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Derry with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.