Mother in court on child sex abuse charges

Image caption, The offences are alleged to have taken place over a 20-year period

A mother has appeared before Newtownards Magistrates Court charged with sexually abusing her children.

She is accused of abusing them in County Down over a 20-year period between 1972 and 1992.

The woman in her 50s, who has five children, is charged with 15 counts of cruelty, four of indecent assault and four of gross indecency.

She is due to appear again in court in June.

On Monday, the woman's ex-husband, who is also the father of the alleged victims appeared in court in Downpatrick along with a former part-time RUC reservist, on a series of child sex abuse charges, including rape.

Both men deny the sex abuse charges and were refused bail.

A detective constable told Newtownards Magistrates Court on Tuesday that the charges are all related to the same case and that feelings in the community were running high.

The accused wept as district judge Mr Hamilton said proceedings were part of an ongoing investigation.

Four other people arrested as part of the same enquiry were released on bail.