Northern Ireland

Woman 'snatched' on street 'pretended to be dead'

Belfast High Court
Image caption The details emerged during a bail hearing at the High Court in Belfast

A woman allegedly snatched from a street in the Irish Republic pretended to be dead while her abductors argued, a Belfast court has heard.

A man bundled her into a car, driven by a woman, and she was taken across the Irish border, prosecutors said.

An alleged sexual assault took place before she escaped from a Newry house.

The details emerged as Daniel Carroll, 22, with an address at Francis Hughes Park, Belleeks, Newry, County Down, was refused bail.

He faces charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual assault.

The court heard how PSNI and Garda officers were alerted to an abduction in the Seapark area of Dundalk, County Louth, last December.

Later the same night, a Newry resident contacted police to say a young woman had arrived at her door hysterical and barefooted.

The alleged victim said she had been grabbed and forced into a car while going to meet her boyfriend near the Square in Dundalk.

According to her account a man, alleged to have been Mr Carroll, sat on her chest and repeatedly punched her about the head and face.

It was claimed that she screamed and begged for help, only for her abductor to tell his female accomplice to drive on.

The vehicle then headed for a car park at a hotel, close to the border, where further assaults were allegedly carried out on both women.

Three witnesses to the incident tried to follow the car but lost it in the Newry area, the court heard.

The prosecution said: "The injured party stated she was so afraid for her life that she played dead and overheard the male and female arguing about what they were going to do with the body."

But the woman, an asthma sufferer, had to get up again to use her inhaler, the court was told.

She was dropped off with the man police believe was Mr Carroll, at a house on Newry's Orior Road by the driver who then sped off.

The woman said she managed to escape and run to a nearby house.

Mr Carroll was arrested after she was able to tell police where she had been taken.

Footage

The prosecution confirmed that CCTV footage of the incident has been obtained from police in the Irish Republic.

He added that the woman was treated in hospital for extensive swelling, cuts and bruises to her face and body.

"She has been left severely traumatised by her ordeal," the barrister said.

"Police say it has caused her and her family great distress. She has been in counselling since the incident."

Mr Justice Stephens ruled that Mr Carroll must remain in custody.

The judge pointed out: "The prima facie case against him is that he is an individual with total disregard for all standards of decency."