Pair accused of sex act during Paloma Faith set 'chastened'
A couple hauled before the Old Bailey accused of indulging in a sex act during a BBC Radio 2 concert in Hyde Park have had a "chastening experience", a judge said today.
Lisanne Beck, 47, and her boyfriend Simon Murphy, 48, landed themselves in the dock of Court One of the historic criminal courts after they were filmed on a mobile phone locked in alleged lewd behaviour.
Music-lovers complained after seeing Beck pleasure Murphy during a set by Paloma Faith at the family event on September 14 last year, their three-day trial heard.
But the pair, from Swansea, denied a charge of outraging public decency and after deliberating all afternoon the jury of nine women and two men could not reach a verdict and were discharged.
Judge Peter Rook QC thanked jurors, saying: "You must be true to your oath so please don't feel any sense of failure whatsoever."
He gave the prosecution until next Thursday to decide whether to pursue a retrial.
But he added: "It must have been a harrowing experience. Whatever the Crown says, it will have been a chastening experience over the last few days, I'm sure everyone will agree with that."
The jury had been shown video footage which the prosecution said showed Murphy with his genitals exposed and Beck performing a sex act on him.
A teenage girl had to be shielded from witnessing their activity before they were ejected from the event, the court has heard.
Beck, a hospitality waitress, denied doing anything wrong, insisting she was just trying to wake up Murphy as they sat on the ground together.
In turn, Murphy declined to give evidence but his legal team asserted that he was completely unaware of what his girlfriend was doing.
But prosecutor Tom Cleeve rubbished their explanations saying it was "blindingly obvious" from the video what the pair were up to.
He suggested Beck was "just a bit too embarrassed" to own up to her lewd behaviour and was "shamed" by the amount of alcohol she had drunk that afternoon.
On her partner, who is a gardener, Mr Cleeve told jurors: "Mr Murphy was an active, deliberate participant. What would be the point of Ms Beck carrying out that activity if he were unconscious and not get any enjoyment out of it?"
He added that the video showed him giving Beck a "pat on the back" seemingly in either "encouragement or thanks".
Summing up his case, Mr Cleeve said: "What the couple in question were doing would be no crime at all in the privacy of their own home. It would be perfectly all right there. But not in Hyde Park in the middle of a concert.
"There are some amusing aspects to it and it may be when you are able to talk about this with your friends after jury service that some of your friends may have a few jokes to crack but it was not funny at the time and being fair, it may not be terribly funny to those two defendants on trial for what took place.
"They are of previously good character, but in that afternoon I'm afraid they blotted their copy book."
It was not funny, either, for one member of the public who said she "felt sick", he went on.
"It was in the middle of the afternoon and at a family event. There was a 16-year-old girl nearby who had to be shielded from what went on. What went on was just not on. It went beyond grounds of decency. It was, in fact, indecent. On that occasion, that blemish free record was blotted."