Suspended jail sentence for 'creepy' County Down man (60) convicted of sexual assaults

Suspended jail sentence for 'creepy' County Down man (60) convicted of sexual assaults

A 'CREEPY' 60-year-old County Down man has been convicted of sexual assaults and been given a suspended jail term.

James William Flanaghan, of Dermott Road, Comber, has also been placed on the Sex Offender's Register for seven years.

The defendant had denied charges that he had 'intentionally touched' three females, 'the circumstances being that the touching was sexual' but was convicted after a contest at Newtownards Magistrates Court on Monday.

The charges related to the period from 2016 to 2021.

The court of heard of incidents where Flanaghan had squeezed, "tickled" or slapped behinds, touched a female's breasts and pulled at bra straps.

The women said he displayed "inappropriate behaviour" including making "sexual remarks" and gestures.

One of the women described Flanaghan's actions as "inappropriate, a bit creepy and weird".

The court heard Flanaghan would often hug and kiss females on the cheek.

He told the court he was "just a friendly person" but he denied sexual assaults.

He said he was "shocked" at the allegations made against him.

Convicting the defendant of the three charges of sexual assault, Deputy District Judge John Connolly said he found the evidence of the complainants to be "credible and reliable".

He said they had given "consistent versions of events".

The judge said although there had been a pattern of "repetitive" behaviour over a long period of time there was "no suggestion of any more high level offending of this nature".

Flanaghan was given an 18 months jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register for seven years.