Maghera man accused of rape ‘offered £200 to woman to withdraw statement’ court told

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A Maghera man accused of raping a woman allegedly gave her £200 to withdraw her statement to police, a court has heard.

Stephen McNally, of Brackaghreilly Road, Maghera, faces two charges of rape on February 8.

The 38-year-old is further charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, driving whilst disqualified and having no insurance on February 12.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that the alleged rapes were reported to police on Tuesday and McNally was made aware police were looking to speak to him the following day.

It is alleged McNally went to the complainants home on Thursday and asked her to withdraw her complaint to police and change her story.

He also allegedly put £200 in her pocket before leaving her home and driving off.

The woman reported the matter to police immediately and gave details of the vehicle the 38-year-old was allegedly driving.

The court heard claims that McNally then phoned police and said he was not involved in the offences and could provide police with an alibi.

McNally was interviewed by police in relation to perverting the course of justice and he initially denied it.

However, he allegedly made a full admission at a later stage and said his main concern was ‘his wife finding out about the initial incident’.

Police opposed bail for fear of interference with witnesses.

The investigating officer said she also had concerns about the proposed bail address as it is close to the alleged injured party’s home.

A defence solicitor told the court his client lives more than four miles away from the woman.

He added that his client accepts having sexual intercourse with the woman, but makes the case it was consensual.

District Judge Barney McElholm said McNally’s story about why he visited the woman is ‘fanciful’ and in his view ‘nonsense’.

He said attempting to pervert the course of justice ‘deserves a severe custodial sentence in it’s own right’.

The judge said he was concerned bail conditions could not be policed because of the ‘lack of police resources on the ground due to government cut backs it is just not possible for the police to do all the day to day tasks we ask of them’.

However, Judge McElholm said there is a ‘presumption in favour of bail no matter how abhorrent the alleged offences’ and granted McNally bail.

As part of his conditions the 38-year-old must have no contact with the alleged injured party and stay out of Maghera.

He must also abide by a curfew, be electronically tagged and must not consume alcohol.

Judge McElholm warned the 38-year-old if there was any breach of conditions he would be remanded in custody.

He also asked police to contact the injured party and inform her if McNally makes any attempt to speak to her to report it so his bail can be revoked.

McNally will appear in Magherafelt Magistrates Court again on March 11.