By Billy Spence

THE "amorous antics" of a Ballymena man were laid bare in court last week.

Self-employed joiner Terry McKeown was said to have exposed himself to five women on five different occasions on public roads between September 23 and November 20 last year.

But his counsel gave a different version of events to Ballymena Magistrates Court, claiming that the offences occurred when McKeown was inside his car indulging in sexual activity with his girlfriend.

McKeown [24], of Galgorm Road, admitted two substantive charges of indecent exposure and asked for three similar offences to be taken into consideration.

He was fined 400.

A PSNI Inspector told the court that police received reports that McKeown committed the offences as he walked along a road. On each occasion his vehicle was at the scene.

McKeown was arrested on November 25 and admitted the offences.

The substantive charges related to incidents at Carniny Road and Harberton Park.

McKeown, a single man who resides with his mother, had no relevant record, and his barrister, Stephen Law, said it was surprising to see a man aged 24 before the court on this type of charge.

"Mr. McKeown is not what would be colloquially called a ‘dirty old man’ and a ‘rain-mac flasher’. He was conducting a relationship which was not conducive to perform indoors, and he found himself in his vehicle with a lady.

"Being an amorous young man and somewhat energetic, he found himself engaged in a physical relationship with her in his vehicle, not fully appreciating that at the time there might be other passers-by.

"He didn’t appreciate other parties would have been in the vicinity of his vehicle who could have noticed his antics."

McKeown was in a vehicle that was "totally registered" to him, and, said Mr. Law, if he had been making a concerted effort to upset and offend members of the public, he would not have taken his own vehicle to do it.

"Such was his concerns about his ability to forge that relationship with his partner at the time, that any passer-by was the last thing on his mind.

"He wishes to apologise to anyone who may have been offended by his amorous antics. He is not what could at first flush be viewed as a ‘dirty young man’.

"He is a testosterone-charged individual who should engage in this behaviour indoors, rather than take his romantic inclinations to a vehicle."

Richard Wilson, RM, said he accepted that it was not McKeown’s intention to cause distress, annoyance or offence to other people, and for that reason he would not impose a custodial sentence.

"However, you have to understand people can be offended by this act, and you will have to be more careful in future," added the Magistrate.