Man exposes himself in Milltown Cemetery

By Francesca Ryan

A man exposed himself to two children and made lewd gestures to a woman in two separate incidents in a West Belfast cemetery at the weekend.

Police are investigating after the man exposed himself to two girls, aged just eight, and made the obscene gestures towards a woman sitting alone at a grave in Milltown Cemetery.

Both incidents took place within the same hour on Sunday and in the same part of the cemetery. The man first approached the woman, aged in her sixties, as she sat at her husband’s grave. She told the Andersonstown News about the frightening incident.

“I was at the grave on Sunday at about half three when I became aware of a young man on my left hand side a few metres away by the bushes,” she said. “I knew he was staring at me but I didn’t look around, my first instinct was to hold on tighter to my handbag.

“He watched me for about three minutes, which is a long enough time. When I didn’t look at him directly, he walked down two rows and walked up the row so he was directly in front of me. When I looked up he was making lewd gestures at me with his tongue, I thought to myself, there’s the face of the devil.

“I looked at the statue of Our Lady and thought about what to do, before I knew it, I was running at him and he backed away towards the bushes beside St Gall’s.”

The woman said she rang the police as soon as she got home as she was concerned about what the man might do to someone else.

“I am in my sixties and he did it to me, imagine he met a young girl or, God forbid, a child,” she said. “He will hurt someone, I am sure of it.”

The woman was right as within an hour the man had struck again, this time in a more sinister act targeting two young girls.

The girls, who are cousins, were in the cemetery with one of their mothers who told us what happened.

“I was there on Sunday with my child and my niece,” she said.

“We were in the new part down by St Gall’s tidying up the grave. The kids were running about and helping me with rubbish to the bins.

“At one point they came running scared, I asked what was wrong and they said ‘that man showed us his thing’. He also said to one of the girls ‘Here, kid, come on over here’. I was horrified.

“At this stage he was a good bit away and I watched him walk towards the bushes at St Gall’s, he seemed calm despite what he had just done and he seemed to know his way about the place.

“I can’t believe this would happen in a graveyard and in broad daylight, it’s sick.

“We are always there, are we now going to have to make sure we visit in groups? What if it was a vulnerable woman on her own, as many visitors to the cemetery are?”

Both women reported the incident to the police and Milltown Cemetery and both gave a similar description of the man who was wearing navy shell tracksuit bottoms, trainers and had a grey hooded top over his shoulder.

The PSNI confirmed they were investigating the incident.

 

Afternoon

“Police in West Belfast received a report of two incidents in Milltown Cemetery on the afternoon of Sunday, August 3,” said a spokesman.

“It was reported that at around 3.30pm a woman was in the Cemetery when she was approached by a young man who made rude gestures at her with his tongue.

“He is described as being aged in his mid-teens and wearing a tracksuit.

“It was reported that around 4pm a man exposed himself to two young girls in the area of the cemetery.

“The mother of one of the girls was with them at the time. The man is described as being aged in his late teens or 20’s, shaved head and wearing blue coloured track bottoms, white coloured t-shirt and a grey coloured hooded top draped over his shoulders.

 

Witnessed

“Police would ask anyone who may have witnessed the incidents or who has any information to contact them at Woodbourne PSNI Station on the non-emergency number 101.

“Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Nobody from Milltown Cemetery was available for comment last night.

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