April 22, 2024

Alleged pimp banned from seeing lover on Valentine’s says: ‘It’s bad for my health’

Judge refuses brothel-keeping co-accused’s request to meet up on most romantic day of year

Flortine Ciurar (35) and her lover Petru Balogh (26) are accused of running a Belfast sex trafficking ring and failed in a legal bid to spend “quality time” together last Wednesday.

Lawyers for the pair told Belfast Magistrates Court the couple were desperate to see each other on the most romantic day of the year, but a judge dismissed the application and banned any contact.

Speaking to Sunday Life on the lover’s day last week, Ciurar said she had suffered heart problems as a result of the stress of being apart from her beloved.

“It’s very sad,” she said: “It’s not good for my health, I would love to be able to see him again soon. Hopefully it won’t be too long.

“It’s been a very long time, six months now, and all that time I am not sleeping. I have had friends and family staying with me, it’s very stressful to be alone like this.

“We just want to be together, maybe we can spend Valentine’s Day together next year.

“I have had several heart attacks in the past and have been admitted to hospital three or four times recently with heart palpitations.”

​Balogh wasn’t at home when this newspaper called to the door but a family member told us they believe the allegations would be cleared up in due course.

They said: “Flortine is going to take this to a court in Romania when it’s all finished because it’s all wrong, over half a year they have been apart, it’s so hard for them.

“There is too much pressure on this family, it’s not fair.”

Ciurar, of Glenbrook Street, and Balogh, of Lawrence Street, both in Belfast, deny charges of controlling prostitution for gain, brothel keeping, human trafficking and money laundering.

Inquiries against the couple began in June 2022 after a woman informed police she had fled from the pair.

She claimed to have been lured to Northern Ireland from Romania with the bogus offer of a job working for Amazon.

Balogh and Ciurar have been on bail since August last year under strict orders not to contact one another.

Ciurar’s barrister, Sean O’Hare, previously told Laganside Magistrates Court his client has no other support network in Belfast. “They would even agree to meet in a police station for a couple of hours, if that would ease concerns,” Mr O’Hare said.

Opposing the application, an investigating detective revealed three new witnesses have come forward in Romania.

District Judge Steven Keown denied the defendants’ bid to be allowed to meet up on the basis the ban remains necessary and appropriate.

He said: “That situation does not change for a period of a couple of hours, even on Valentine’s Day.”

The most romantic day of the year isn’t the only time the pair have been refused permission to be together, with a magistrate doing the same over the Christmas period at the end of last year.

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