Woman in court accused of kidnap and sexual assault

Maria Covaci, 29, from Armagh, was denied bail.

Jonathan McCambridge
Friday 31 December 2021 16:53
Maria Covaci faced Coleraine Magistrates’ Court by videolink on Friday (PA)
Maria Covaci faced Coleraine Magistrates’ Court by videolink on Friday (PA)

A woman accused of kidnapping two female victims at knifepoint, as well as sexual assault, has been denied bail.

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

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 on November 13 when Covaci was eight months pregnant.

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

A 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. They later returned home but were in a “very distressed” state.

He said they had 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.

The officer said the victim’s top and underwear were then removed, she was photographed and was told by her attacker that she would be made to be 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 has two children.

He said Covaci 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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