A SOLDIER from East Lancashire who was seriously hurt while serving in Afghanistan has been charged with rape.

Shaun Aspin, 24, will deny the sexual assault charge, relating to an incident in Colne on February 17, Burnley magistrates heard.

He was sent for trial by magistrates and his solicitor indicated a not guilty plea in relation to the offence. An official plea has not yet been entered.

Aspin, of Portland Street, Colne, was also charged with possession of two live rounds of .50 calibre ammunition, when he did not hold a firearms certificate.

His solicitor said he would also deny the ammunition charge.

The Duke of Lancaster regiment soldier was remanded on bail to appear at Burnley Crown Court on June 6.

Bail conditions mean he must not enter Burnley or Pendle, except to attend court or pre-arranged appointments with his solicitors, or approach three named witnesses in the case.

Aspin, a Kingsman in the 1st Battalion, must live and sleep each night at his regiment’s HQ at the Somme Barracks in Catterick.

The soldier fell victim to an improvised explosive device while serving with the Duke of Lancs in Helmand Province during the summer of 2010.

He received neck fractures and severe shrapnel wounds in the incident, which also left one of his sergeants badly hurt.

Returning to the UK he recovered at the Headley Court Rehabiliation Centre before rejoining his regiment later.

An Army spokesman said Aspin was still a serving soldier and no decision would be taken on his future until the court case was resolved.