Woman in court accused of kidnap and sexual assault

Woman in court accused of kidnap and sexual assault
A court heard one of the victims was bound and had her head shaved.

A woman accused of kidnapping two female victims at knifepoint, as well as sexually assaulting and shaving the head of one, has been denied bail.

Maria Covaci, 29, from New Road, Silverbridge, Armagh, appeared by videolink at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Ballymena vendredi.

She faces two charges of kidnapping, two of possessing an offensive weapon, two of false imprisonment, two of common assault and one of sexual assault.

The charges relate to an alleged incident in James Street in Ballymena in November 13 when Covaci was eight months pregnant.

The court heard one of the victims was involved in a relationship with the defendant’s estranged husband.

A district judge told the court that Covaci, a Romanian national, faces “very substantial and very serious charges”.

UNE PSNI detective constable appeared in court and said he can connect the accused to the offences.

He told the court that on November 13, police received a report of two missing persons. When police called at their address the women had returned home but were in a “very distressed” state.

They told police they had been grabbed and forced into a car at knifepoint by two people.

The detective constable told the court the two victims said they had been driven to a secluded spot where one of them was forced to kneel down, bound with tape and her head was shaved.

The officer said the victim’s top and underwear were then removed, she was photographed and was told by the defendant that she would make her an “internet star”.

The detective objected to bail on the grounds of risk of interference with witnesses and the risk of leaving the jurisdiction.

A defence lawyer told the court his client is the mother of two children.

He said the defendant’s husband had been involved a relationship with one of the injured parties and that his client was eight months pregnant at the time of the alleged attack.

The district judge refused an application for bail and remanded Covaci in custody until January 27.

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