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Armagh man sexually assaulted woman as her children sat in next room

The 56-year-old's victim told court: 'It was a blur, I couldn't really understand what was going on....I felt like a piece of meat, like I wasn't a human being'

An Armagh man who has been convicted of sexually assaulting a female after being invited to her home to cut grass must wait until later this year to learn his fate.

The 56-year-old’s victim told court: “It was a blur, I couldn’t really understand what was going on….I felt like a piece of meat, like I wasn’t a human being.”

Anthony Daniel Parkes, of Drumarg Park, contested the single charge of sexual assault on June 20, of 2019, at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

First called to the stand to give evidence by the prosecution was the injured party in the case.

She outlined that on June 20, 2019, she had been at home with her two children when the defendant attended her property.

The injured party explained that she had arranged for Parkes to cut her grass through a friend, and told the court she had not known him previously.

Thirty minutes after his arrival, the injured party stated that Parkes had knocked on the door of her home as it had started raining.

She said that she invited the defendant in for a cup of tea, to see if the rain would ease up and he could finish cutting the grass.

Whilst making the tea in the kitchen, the injured party described to court how Parkes had “squeezed” her behind and remarking, “you’ve got a nice bum”.

She claimed to have told the defendant at this point to stop, however, he then proceeded to cup her vagina and press his genitals against her bottom.

When questioned by the prosecution, the injured party stated that all of the touching had been above the clothing.

Following this, the injured party described “laughing off” the incident and backing away as she felt trapped.

The victim then went on to point out to Parkes that neighbours could see them through the kitchen window, to which he replied “f*** the neighbours”.

The injured party stated that the defendant then placed her hand on his penis, over the clothes, telling her “feel how hard I am”.

At this point, the victim stated that her daughter entered the kitchen and she went back to making tea.

After she left, Parkes came up behind the injured party once more, cupping her breasts. She questioned what he was doing before suggesting moving into the living room, where her two daughters were.

Whilst making her way there, the injured party described how Parkes had pulled at her underwear.

She described to the court “wanting to get away” and how in her head she did not believe the defendant would do anything in the presence of her children.

She added: “It was a blur, I couldn’t really understand what was going on…….I felt like a piece of meat, like I wasn’t a human being.”

Following some conversation, the injured party’s partner returned home and said hello before making his way to the kitchen.

She escorted the defendant to the front door, where he suggested them “showering together” the following day, if the children were at school.

The injured party stated that her partner had gone outside to confront Parkes after her daughters stated to him what they had seen.

She stated that between 90 minutes and two hours later she made contact with police regarding the incident, however, prosecution pointed out no complaint was made until June 24.

Asked why, the injured party stated: “I was still in a state of shock. I was trying to get my head around it.”

Cross-examining the injured party, defence barrister Patrick Taggart questioned why she had not said no to Parkes and why she had not called her children into the kitchen.

The injured party stated that she had said stop “a few times”, adding that she felt “trapped” and “frightened”.

Mr Taggart further commented that the victim had not made contact with the police that day, that they had been calling at her home in relation to an unrelated matter when she made the allegations.

He told the injured party: “This was a total fabrication, none of this happened.”

The link was then closed as evidence was taken from one of the injured party’s daughters.

Following this, her partner was then called to the stand in order to give his evidence.

Led by the prosecution, he explained how he had arrived home from work at around 4.15pm, he said hello to those present in the living room before entering the kitchen.

He said that one of the injured party’s daughters had indicated that Parkes had been “inappropriate” towards their mother.

Following this, he went outside to confront Parkes and had pushed him in anger, causing him to fall.

He claimed the defendant had apologised to him and made reference to the injured party “bending down in front of him”.

The injured party’s partner re-entered the house but later came back out and warned Parkes not to return.

Next called to the stand was a police constable, who had attended the address on June 20 in relation to a matter involving one of the injured party’s daughters.

Mr Taggart claimed that the injured party made the allegations to garner sympathy and deflect the officer from his investigations.

When questioned on this by District Judge Bernie Kelly, Mr Taggart commented it was the “only” explanation he could put forward.

Finally Parkes was called to give evidence on his own behalf.

He told court that he had been recommended by a mutual friend to cut the injured party’s grass and that he had been invited in for tea when it had started to rain.

However, he had denied that any touching had occurred between himself and the injured party.

Parkes confirmed that the injured party’s partner had returned home before he left but denied any confrontation had occurred.

The prosecution put it to the defendant that the injured party had “no reason” to lie and if she had commented on her “limited fabrication”, given that all touching was above the clothes.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “I believe the injured party. You have to ask why a woman of 32 years of age would concoct such a story, to what end and to what purpose. She had nothing to gain.

“It has taken two-and-a-half years to come before a court. She has been called a liar and has had to go through it all again.”

Recording a conviction, District Judge Kelly ordered a presentence report in the case as it was adjourned until December 7.

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