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Lurgan man accused of sexually assaulting shop assistant working alone

He was freed on his own bail but barred from entering any shop by the district judge who said: "He's going to learn how to order stuff online."

Craigavon Magistrates Court

A Lurgan man accused of sexually assaulting a shop worker as she went about her duties has been banned from entering any shop and told “he’s going to learn how to order stuff online”.

Milne Jones, of Atherton Square, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, via Banbridge custody suite, charged with a single count of sexual assault

The 47-year-old is alleged to have entered a shop in Lurgan on Thursday, May 11 and committed the alleged offence.

A police constable, who connected Jones to the charge, said she was objecting to the defence’s bail application for fear the defendant would interfere with the alleged injured party.

She told the court that following the alleged incident Jones sent her a message on Facebook “apologising for his actions”.

“He went out of his way to contact her to try and rectify the matter,” she said.

“The injured party was very distressed by this as it did occur in her place of work while she was carrying out her duties.

“He has targeted her, gone out of his way in one of the aisles in the shop where she was working alone. It does cause us great concern that he will reoffend again.”

The constable also confirmed that Jones – who lives within close proximity of the alleged injured party and is also aware of where she works as the incident occurred at her workplace – made partial admissions during interview.

District Judge Bernie Kelly queried a previous conviction of improper use of public electronic communications going back a number of years for which he was made subject of a restraining order and a suspended prison sentence.

“So he’s no stranger to this,” she said. “I’m assuming that was also a female on the receiving end of that?” to which the prosecution confirmed that to be the case. “Of course it was,” replied District Judge Kelly.

Defending, Kevin McCamley, argued that bail could be granted with the imposition of strict conditions.

“Mr Jones is in full-time employment; he’s a welder. He lives with his partner and pays child support.”

District Judge Kelly interjected: “He lives with his partner and he chases another female around a shop? How long do you think he’s going to be living with his partner?”

Mr McCamley continued: “His employment is very important to him.”

District Judge Kelly interrupted him again.

“What do you think [alleged injured party’s] employment is to her and how do you think she’s going to feel going back into that employment?”

“I’m sure it’s very important to her but I can’t answer for her,” he replied.

District Judge Kelly retorted: “I can. I know exactly how she’ll feel – it’s rather telling that the men don’t know how she would feel.

“Is the day ever going to come when a man does not see a woman as anything other than some sort of plaything. Are we ever going to get to that day in our development as a society?”

District Judge Kelly released Jones on his own bail of £500 and barred him from entering any premises that sell retail to the public.

“He’s going to learn how to order stuff online.”

The case was adjourned until June 9.

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