Northern Ireland news

Man charged with sexually assaulting teenagers on a Lurgan street

A man has appeared in court accused of sexually assaulting teenagers on a Lurgan street.

Raymond Hugh Fitzpatrick (63) was charged with five offences arising from incidents in Lurgan on January 15, including sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, two counts of common assault and using indecent behaviour.

A police officer said there was a report of an “aggressive and disruptive male,” matching Fitzpatrick’s description, on William Street in Lurgan and although he had already left, a woman working in a Chinese takeaway reported how the man had been on the premises “put his hands on his genitals, over clothing, and asked her was she preggers?”

A group of teenagers, aged 14-15, then approached the officers to report that two of them had been sexually assaulted a short distance away.

The boy said the man “put his arm across his shoulder before sliding ... down to touch his left buttock…used his left arm to touch his face before trying to kiss him.”

“The male injured party pushed him away but there was a further report from a female injured party who was in the same group,” said the officer adding that according to her, the man had taken her face in his hands, told her “you look so pretty” and tried to kiss her.

The man denied all the accusations during police interviews.

Fitzpatrick, who was appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court by videolink from police custody, had a temporary address of the Premier Inn hotel, Waring Street, Belfast. Police objected to bail.

Defence solicitor Jim McGinnis conceded that Fitzpatrick was in the area at the time but “he was asking for directions to a taxi stand” and that throughout his police interviews, “he repeatedly denied, and still does, any assault of any nature.”

He submitted that the hotel address was appropriate for bail and that Fitzpatrick could be freed “perhaps on stricter conditions,” but

However, District Judge Greg McCourt refused bail, remanded Fitzpatrick into custody and adjourned the case to February 11.

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