Teenage boy sentenced for outraging public decency over penetrating horse in Northumberland

The 17-year-old denied charges against him and went on trial at North Tyneside Youth Court. Credit: NCJ Media

A teenage boy who was found guilty of outraging public decency after penetrating a horse has been sentenced.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was spotted stroking a female horse before lifting up its tail and inserting his arm. However, he has been handed no immediate punishment.

The youth claimed he had gone into the field in Blyth, Northumberland, "to stroke the horses" and denied lifting up the animal's tail and putting his hand inside it.

He denied outraging public decency and went on trial at North Tyneside Youth Court in North Shields last month. Magistrates convicted him of the charge.

The teenager was accompanied by his mother as he returned to the Youth Court to be sentenced for the crime on Wednesday 15 May.

Magistrates heard how he still denied carrying out the act.

Chair of the bench, James Parker, sentenced him to a 12-month conditional discharge. This means he will not be sentenced for the offence unless he commits another crime in the next year.

The court previously heard how a woman, who lives nearby and has a horse in the field, had been using binoculars to look out of her window and check on the horses on 29 May last year.

The woman said she became concerned after noticing a male lifting up the tails of the horses and ran outside to stop him. However, the boy spotted her and escaped through the fence, the court heard.

The woman's partner said her actions drew his attention and he looked through the binoculars at the field. The man claimed he then saw the teenager holding one of the tails of a horse, which did not belong to them, with his right hand and was penetrating it with his left hand.

The man said he got into his vehicle, rang the police and stopped the teenager from riding away on his bike, the court was told.

The man claimed the teenager appeared to have a mark on his left arm and there was a smell which he had never smelled before.

The court heard police arrived at the scene and put the teenager in the back of their van while they spoke to the couple. Officers then took him home and explained the accusation to his parents.

A Northumbria Police officer, who attended the scene, told the trial that the teenager had something on his arm.

He said it could have been faeces, but he was not willing to touch or smell it for health and safety reasons. He also admitted that it could have been mud, as he did not inspect it.

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Prosecutor Gurjot Kaur told the sentencing hearing that the owner of the horse, in a victim impact statement, said that she has owned horses since she was 13 and she has never previously worried about the safety of them.

However, the incident ha made her feel anxious and concerned whether someone is going to mistreat them. She added she was shocked that people could behave in that way and treat an animal like that.

Glenn Reardon, defending, said his client's position in the trial was that the witness was simply mistaken when he was looking through the binoculars from over 500 yards away and he "saw something that didn't occur".

Mr Reardon told magistrates: "This is the most positive pre-sentence report I have read." He added the teenager seemed to be doing "very well" in all aspects of his life and he had been assessed as a low risk.

His solicitor added: "It's still a matter that he denies. He's never troubled the courts before and, from that report, he's unlikely to again."

The court heard the teenager had no previous convictions, no record of involvement with the police and he had not committed any more offences since the incident occurred last year.

He was assessed by the youth justice service as very low risk and there was little they could offer in terms of rehabilitative work. It was also noted he had good family support.

Magistrates imposed a conditional discharge and ordered the teenager to pay £310 court costs and a £20 surcharge.