Pair accused of having public sex in church appear in court in Belfast

Sean Paul Russell (36), and Kirsty McMaster (31), were arrested at St Mary’s on Chapel Lane last Saturday afternoon

A man and woman allegedly had sex inside a Belfast church in front of shocked onlookers, a court has heard.

Sean Paul Russell (36), and Kirsty McMaster (31), were arrested at St Mary’s on Chapel Lane in the city centre last Saturday afternoon.

A judge was told the pair shouted obscenities at PSNI officers called to the scene.

Russell, of Saul Street in Downpatrick, and McMaster, of no fixed abode, are jointly charged with committing an act outraging public decency. They both also face a second count of disorderly behaviour in connection with the incident.


Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard police were alerted by several members of the public attending the chapel.

“A male and female were engaging in sexual intercourse in a room in the church which was visible to people outside,” a PSNI constable said. She claimed the pair launched a foul-mouthed tirade when they were subsequently challenged about their behaviour.

“The female suspect shouted ‘It’s just sex’ and told police to ‘f*** off’,” the officer added. “The male also used foul language and said he didn’t ‘give a f***’.”

During interviews following her arrest, McMaster said she had been extremely drunk. She thought any sexual activity had taken place on the street outside the church, according to her statement.

But the constable insisted: “This is a very concerning case where no respect was shown for anybody else (in the area).”

Luke Curran, representing Russell, said he was apologetic for what happened.

“It’s obviously a very unpleasant incident, and there are morality issues about the venue,” the barrister said.

Mr Curran disclosed that his client suffers from bipolar disorder and had travelled to Belfast to attend a hospital appointment.

Russell was refused bail and remanded in custody until next month.

Granting McMaster’s application for release, District Judge Steven Keown banned her from drinking in public and imposed a prohibition on entering Chapel Lane.

Adjourning the case until June 17th, Mr Keown said: “It’s an extremely worrying incident, the circumstances are very concerning.”