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Couple who carried out ‘obscene’ sexual acts in full view of child (4) in Armagh city centre spared jail

The witness was 'upset and angry that his granddaughter witnessed such obscene conduct'

A couple who carried out “obscene” sexual acts in full view of a four-year-old child in Armagh city centre have been spared jail.

Thirty-seven-year-old Niall Edward McCann, from Corrigan Court in the city, and 40-year-old Elizabeth Elliott, of Linen Court, previously pleaded guilty to committing “an act of a lewd obscene and disgusting nature” on August 7, last year.

Officers were called to reports of anti-social behaviour in the Market Square area of Armagh at approximately 6.30pm.

A man, who was with his four-year-old granddaughter, heard glass smashing, shouting and swearing. He noticed two males and a female behaving in a loud manner amongst themselves, “although it was good natured”.

He rang the police to have them moved on but then his granddaughter observed something sexual going on between the two defendants – the other man had left at this stage.

The witness was “upset and angry that his granddaughter witnessed such obscene conduct”.

While the pair initially denied the accusations, CCTV was obtained which identified them as the perpetrators.

Elliott, who has no relevant previous convictions, identified herself on the CCTV and she admitted in interview to engaging in masturbation and oral sex. She told police: “I apologise big time and I mean it from my heart”.

McCann, who has a large number of previous convictions, expressed his “shame” to Probation and “awareness of potential harm caused a young child” and her grandfather for which “he apologises to them”.

The court heard, via a Probation report prepared for Elliott, that she was “deeply ashamed” and “devastated that a young child had been impacted by the incident”.

His Honour Judge Ramsey, reading the report, commented: “She’s struggled under the shame and embarrassment of her offending and the impact on the public. Indeed, one of the impacts of this on her is that her eldest daughter has stopped  contact with her.”

In sparing the pair prison sentences, Judge Ramsey commented: “This [incident] was witnessed by a very young child; that wasn’t known to either of you at the time, but since you’ve learned that, you both have expressed great shame that that was the situation, and I understand, and accept that.

“You both have pleaded guilty at a relatively early stage, and you deserve full credit for that.”

He added: “This is a case where, in the ordinary way, I would have imposed a prison sentence but, because of the pre-sentence reports, because of what’s been said about you, because of the way you have met this case, and because of your genuine remorse, I will be able to deal with it by way of an enhanced combination order.”

McCann was handed 80 hours community service and placed on Probation for two years while Elliott was given 60 hours and two years on Probation.

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