A MAN charged with the alleged rape of a woman as she walked to work through the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth has been named as Luke Alan Christopher West.

West, 28, appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing this morning.

Prosecutors allege he raped the woman, who he didn't know, in the early hours of Wednesday last week.

As reported, it is claimed the woman was approached from behind and attacked at around 5.40am. A member of the public called the emergency services after finding the complainant just after 6.10am, police claim.

West has not yet entered a plea to the charge against him. This morning, he appeared at court flanked by two dock officers.

The defendant, who lives in Warren Avenue, Southampton, but has previously been staying at a property in Durley Chine Road, Bournemouth, was handcuffed to one as he entered and left the dock.

Nicola Reece, prosecuting, alleged: "This offence occurred in the early hours of the morning.

"A female, who was not known previously to the defendant, was walking to work."

West, who has blonde hair and a beard and wore a grey sweatshirt for the hearing, was remanded into custody. He will next appear for a plea and trial preparation hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court next month.

The complainant, who is in her 40s, has been discharged from hospital.

She continues to be supported by specially-trained police officers.

The court heard she also suffered facial injuries during the alleged incident.

A 43-year-old Bournemouth man was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender last week.

He has since been released under investigation.