Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Woman flees through streets from suspected rapist

By Diarmuid Pepper

A 38-year-old man has appeared before Newry court in relation to an alleged serious sexual assault on a woman in the Castleblaney Street area of Newtownhamilton on Thursday.

Newry court heard that the alarm was raised when a woman, naked and distressed, ran out onto the street in search of help.

A police officer was speaking as Silinskas Andrius, 38, of Tullyvallen Fold, Castleblaney Street, Newtownhamilton, appeared on charges of rape and threatening to kill the woman.

Mr Andrius is also charged with assault and breach of a UK deportation order. He denies all charges.

He was denied bail, with the prosecution arguing that there was a risk he could flee the country.

A detective told Newry court on Saturday that the woman had only recently arrived in Northern Ireland having responded to an advertisement for work.

Mr Andrius was said to be drunk when he met the woman at the airport.

He took her to his home address and continued drinking.

The detective, outlining the prosecution’s case, said that Mr Andrius wanted to have sex with the woman but she refused.

Mr Andrius is then alleged to have slapped the woman across the face, threatened to kill her, and raped her.

She managed to flee the premises and sought help from local residents.

Upon arrest, Mr Andrius denied having any sexual contact with the woman.

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Detective Inspector Leah Crothers said: “We received a report after 2pm that a female had been assaulted by a male in a house in the Castleblaney Street area. She subsequently ran from the house and, in a distressed state, was comforted by local people who contacted police.”

Detective Inspector Crothers thanked the local community for coming to the aid of the female victim. 

Local Sinn Féin councillor Barra Ó Muirí said that the incident had further heightened concerns within the area.

“Many Newtown Residents are constantly on edge, unsure of who their neighbours are, and extremely worried about issues such as drug use, assault and allegations of human trafficking,” commented Ó Muirí in the aftermath of the incident. 

Ó Muirí added that all the agencies involved must continue to work with community activists to ensure that the fears of the community are allayed.

Of the incident, Ó Muirí said: “The young woman had recently arrived in Newtown from Eastern Europe and had been in the property on Castleblayney Street until she was attacked.

“The victim was eventually taken to hospital, while the assailant was swiftly placed under arrest”.

Like Detective Inspector Crothers, Cllr Ó Muirí praised the resilience of the residents of Newtown.

Ó Muirí paid particular homage to a family on Dundalk Street “who were kept from their home until after 8pm when the Serious Crime Unit were finished examining the scene”.