Couple "got carried away" in Ely Cathedral grounds

PUBLISHED: 09:01 01 October 2010 | UPDATED: 09:07 01 October 2010

Justice

Justice

Archant

POLICE broke up a couple who appeared to be having sex in the grounds of Ely Cathedral in broad day light on a Saturday afternoon.

Topless Stephen Neal was on top of the woman, who was laying on her back, and they were “kissing each other furiously,” city magistrates were told.

Both re-arranged their clothing after being disturbed, and the woman apologised and said they had “got carried away.”

Neal appeared at Ely Magistrates’ Court and admitted his behaviour could have caused harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public.

And when Neal was fined £135, presiding magistrate Mary Rone told him: “Ely is a special place, with a beautiful cathedral surround by large and impressive grounds and monastic buildings.

“To many people these grounds are a sacred place and should be treated with respect. This offence took place on a Saturday afternoon when members of the public and children were around, possibly on their way to Evensong or maybe walking to the Almonry Restaurant, and they must have been offended by your inappropriate behaviour.”

Prosecuting, Marti Blair said the woman involved was on her back with her legs open, and her thighs in the air. The couple were moving around, and Neal was caressing the woman’s body as they kissed furiously.

“Officers thought they were having sex; people were in the vicinity, including families.” she said. “Officers approached the couple, the defendant stood up in a panic, doing up his flies or fiddling with his buttons, and putting his tee-shirt on; she appeared to be fiddling with her clothing.”

When interviewed by police, Neal denied having sex, but accepted the couple had been kissing and cuddling.

Mitigating on behalf of 23-year-old Neal, of High Barns, Ely, Micahel Judkins said the couple had been found behind the Almonry Restaurant.

“He accepts they were kissing and cuddling and the impression may have been given it was some sort of sexual activity, but that is not quite what it was,” he said.

“He accepts in hindsight they went too far and it was inappropriate; he had no intention of making members of the public feel uncomfortable or offended. This situation simply developed. ”

Unemployed Neal was ordered to pay £105 costs and a £15 surcharge.

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