A SCHOOLBOY will stand trial after being charged with three counts of rape.

Prosecutors say that the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged just 14 when he committed the first rape against a schoolgirl; and that he was 15 when he committed two more rapes against a “woman aged 16 or over”.

The teenager was produced at Carlisle’s magistrates' court for a trial preparation hearing. He denies all three rape charges.

The first in time is the rape of a teenage girl, said to have happened on September 11, 2017, in Carlisle.

Prosecutors say the teenager committed the other two rapes against “a woman aged 16 or over” on Monday, June 17, 2019.

After legal discussions, District Judge Gerald Chalk ruled that he has the right to conduct the trial when it comes to court.

The teenager, from Carlisle, was told he will face that trial - which is expected to last two or three days - at the Rickergate court in early September.

The case came before the court last Friday, the second time it has been considered by the district judge. It is extremely rare for teenagers to appear before a court on such serious charges.

Whatever the outcome of the trial, both the defendant and his alleged victims will retain their anonymity to protect their welfare. The teenager was given unconditional bail until the trial.