Court sees video footage of man accused of performing sex act in front of neighbours

PUBLISHED: 17:16 18 February 2019

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

A jury has viewed film clips of an Ipswich man who is accused of performing a sex act in a communal garden in front of shocked neighbours, a court has heard.

The mobile phone footage was taken by a couple who allegedly saw Stephen Ratcliffe with his trousers undone and indecently exposing himself in a communal garden behind his address in Rushmere Road, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Ratcliffe, 63, is accused of outraging public decency on June 22 last year by committing a “lewd, obscene, disgusting” act within sight of other people.

Judge Rupert Overbury told a jury he had found Ratcliffe unfit to stand trial after considering evidence from psychiatrists and said the jury’s job was to decide whether or not he had committed the act complained of.

The court heard that in November 2017 Ratcliffe admitted three similar offences of outraging public decency.

During the hearing the jury viewed two film clips taken by witnesses who viewed Ratcliffe from around 25m away.

Paul Donegan, for Ratcliffe, who was not in court, said the jury would have to decide if his client was performing a sex act or was doing something else such as urinating.

The case continues.

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