Ballinamallard United's 33-year-old goalkeeper has been accused of raping and falsely imprisoning a "vulnerable" woman he met outside a Cookstown nightclub last year.

Alvin Rouse, who is originally from Barbados but currently lives on the Old Armagh Road, Monaghan, is charged with three counts of rape, two of sexual assault, one of causing a person to engage in a sexual act and one of false imprisonment. He denies all the offences, which are alleged to have taken place on April 29, last year.

He appeared at Strabane Magistrate's Court last Thursday and was released on bail, despite objections from the police and Public Prosecution Service, who argued that he posed a flight risk.

A detective constable told the court she believed she could connect Rouse to all seven charges.

Outlining the background to the case, the officer said that a woman had contacted police on April 30, last year, and alleged that she had been raped the previous night after attending Sense nightclub in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown.

An investigation was launched and the alleged victim provided an initial account of the incident and was also medically examined. Rouse was subsequently identified as her alleged attacker, arrested and interviewed on three separate occasions - on November 8, and December 4, last year, and again last Wednesday. He was charged with the seven offences following the last interview.

The policewoman described the alleged victim as "particularly vulnerable", with a small frame.

Detailing the alleged offences, the detective said the woman had been "standing around" outside the nightclub after closing time and Rouse had offered her a lift home. The alleged victim told police there had first been "consensual kissing" in the rear of the vehicle, before Rouse allegedly sexually assaulted her. At this point the woman was scared and "feared something bad would happen".

Rouse is then alleged to have removed the woman's clothes without her consent and raped her, causing her to scream out in pain. The detective added that more sexual acts were subsequently forced upon the alleged victim. It was further alleged that the woman had to urinate outside the car naked after Rouse refused to give her clothes back. She returned to the car, where she alleged she was sexually assaulted once more.

The policewoman said that, after the "prolonged" incident, Rouse dropped the woman off at her home in the early hours of the morning. The woman had given Rouse her telephone number thinking she would have some way of identifying him if he called her. The following day she visited her GP and was found to have sustained injuries consistent with a sexual assault.

The detective told the court that when interviewed by police Rouse said that the woman had "came on to him" and agreed to his suggestion of using the car. He added that she had performed oral sex "on her own accord" and he thought it was strange that she had left the car to urinate without any clothes on.

Defence solicitor John McCaffrey told the court that his client did not pose a flight risk. He said Rouse had been living in Ireland since 2004 and had played for a variety of football clubs on both sides of the Border since then.

Mr. McCaffrey added that Rouse was currently living in Monaghan with his partner, who was outside the courtroom with their young child. He also revealed that he had his client's passport with him to hand in to the court. The solicitor said Rouse knew the allegations were serious and had turned up voluntarily at the police station for interview each time. He had answered all questions and given a "full explanation" of what had happened.

He also pointed out that Rouse had not breached any of the police bail conditions imposed on him last November.

Ballinamallard United's manager Whitey Anderson went into the witness box and told the court that Rouse had made him aware of the allegations "from the outset" and had confided in him ever since. He said he had got to know the player "quite well" since he had signed for the club last year and would be happy to lodge money on his behalf.

District Judge Liam McNally said Rouse was facing "very serious" charges but had denied the offences during successive interviews and would be pleading not guilty. The judge said that the police concerns over the flight risk posed by Rouse could be dealt with by imposing bail conditions, rather than by remanding him in custody.

He told the court that Rouse had been living in Ireland for nine years and had no previous criminal record in this jurisdiction.

He released Rouse on his own bail of �2,500 and an independent cash surety of �7,500, on condition that he surrenders his passport and stays out of nightclubs. He is also banned from entering Cookstown or having any contact with his alleged victim and must report to Enniskillen Police Station three times a week.

The Public Prosecution Service immediately lodged an appeal against the decision to grant Rouse bail but withdrew it around 20 minutes later.

Rouse was released on bail to appear again at Dungannon Magistrates Court on April 10.