Flasher spied on victim from a tree

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Two women out walking their dogs on open land were both left upset and afraid after encountering a young man high on drink and drugs.

In the separate incidents Joshua Hughes indecently exposed himself to one woman and had his hands down the front of his trousers after attracting the attention of the other woman.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that after deliberately staring at the first woman to attract her attention as she was walking her dog on Ashton Heath he had his hands down the front of his trousers.

Sentencing the 23-year-old the judge, Recorder John Benson, QC, said: “That was obviously an indecent gesture from which you were obtaining some sexual gratification.

“A sinister feature is that she, unsettled by your presence, returned home but you followed her and watched her from a tree, you climbed in her back garden which overlooked her house.

“I have no doubt it was a terrifying experience. I suspect you saw her on the telephone because you left.”

He said that it was then that the other victim had the misfortune to encounter Hughes while she was also walking her dog on Ashton Heath.

“She came across you in state of sexual excitement, masturbating in front of her. She was horrified and frightened by what you did.

“She telephoned the police and fortunately they were there quickly and you were detained,” said Recorder Benson.

“I question whether you have any appreciation of just how frightening your behaviour was,” he added.

“You clearly have a problem, whether it is immaturity or another underlying reason, which needs to be addressed,” said Recorder Benson.

He made a community order involving three years’ supervision and attendance on a sex offenders’ group work programme, which, he warned Hughes, “is not a soft option.”

He also ordered him to sign the Sexual Offenders’ Register for five years.

Michael Jones, prosecuting, had told the court that the offences occurred on October 5 and when arrested Hughes disputed the allegations.

Hughes, formerly of Elliot Avenue, Golborne, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency and exposure.

Martyn Walsh, defending, said that at the time Hughes had been taking drugs and alcohol and living in a “drugs den” in Golborne but has now moved away from the area to his uncle’s home.

He has previous convictions but nothing of a sexual nature. He is immature and has been in custody since his arrest for the offences, of which he only has a hazy recollection, he added.