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Teen accused of ‘disturbing predatory’ rape granted bail

Courts justice

A teenager jointly accused of taking turns to rape a random woman in a case described by a judge as “one of the most disturbing incidents the court will ever hear” has been granted bail.

Alcino Soares (18) of Braeside, Dungannon is charged with rape, sexual assault and twice aiding and abetting a youth to rape.

The youth, who cannot be identified because of his age and whom police believe was the “instigator” of the alleged attack, faces the same charges.

A detective constable previously told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court the complainant reported being raped by two unknown males on September 9, last year.

She had been out with friends when the males approached and walked her – one on either side – to an empty underground carpark in Dungannon, where she was taken to a rear corner and allegedly raped by one of the males, while the other “watched and laughed”.

The detective said Soares “paced up and down, apparently keeping a look out. He laughed on a number of occasions whilst the youth appeared to be raping the injured party. At some points she appeared completely limp and may have been unconscious. She was unable to hold up her head and was ragdoll-like”.

She stumbled away, but Soares approached and pulled down her lower clothing before allegedly raping her.

The youth reappeared and while laughing, seemingly took a photo or video of the ongoing rape on his phone.

Soares walked away, leaving the complainant lying on the ground, slumped over on her left-hand side.

The youth got the complainant to her feet, before allegedly subjecting her to another sexual assault.

Both males then walked her from the carpark.

On September 23, 2023 police encountered Soares after receiving reports of him following women and filming them on his phone.

He provided officers with false details although later corrected this.

Bodyworn footage from this incident was compared with CCTV footage from the carpark and Soares was identified and arrested.

A search of his home recovered 10 mobile phones and it later emerged DNA matching the defendant was found on the complainant’s clothes.

After caution he replied: “I didn’t rape anyone. No way man. That wasn’t me.”

During interview he insisted all sexual activity was consensual and the complainant “wanted it”.

Bail was refused both at magistrates and High Court.

A further application was mounted several weeks later and renewing his objections, the detective said: “If convicted, there is the potential for a lengthy custodial sentence, which he may try to avoid by fleeing. There is strong public feeling as a female has endured well-publicised, horrific ordeal and ultimately wants the offenders brought to justice. If released, the fear it would instil in the community would be monumental. The details are both sensitive and distressing. CCTV shows the predatory nature of this carefully considered act, with each appearing to keep watch for the other as the abhorrent behaviour was carried out. We believe the defendant presents a high risk to the public, specifically young females.”

Defence counsel stressed bail should be considered as Soares “has raised the issue of consent, and the alleged offending occurred while he was a youth”.

This was refused again with District Judge Michael Ranaghan remarking: “This is perhaps one of the most disturbing incidents the court will ever hear. The risks are just too great.”

However, on appealing this at High Court it was decided Soares could be released on £500 bail with strict conditions including electronic tagging, curfew from 8pm to 7am, no contact with the complainant, co-accused or any prosecution witness and signing three times weekly with police.

He must also surrender his passport and cannot leave Northern Ireland at any time.

The case is due for mention again on March 22.

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