Suspended sentence for 'horrible' exposure

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 October 2015

Exeter Magistrates' Court

Exeter Magistrates' Court


A man who exposed himself to a 12-year-old girl, while she sat reading in her mother's car in Exmouth, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Andrew Barnes, 59, committed the offence on the afternoon of September 29, a sentencing hearing at Exeter Magistrates’ Court was told.

The court heard that the girl, who was sitting in the car while it was parked by the Manor Gardens, first became aware of Barnes, who was in the gardens, urinating by the railings nearby, but said he then began asking her questions, saying ‘Do you like it?’, which the girl thought related to what he was doing.

Barnes was seen near the car by a witness, who alerted the girl’s mother.

The court heard the girl had at first been reluctant to talk about what happened, but appeared tearful, and confirmed that Barnes had exposed himself, describing the incident as ‘horrible’ and ‘really gross’.

Barnes, of Altamira, Topsham, who had pleaded guilty to exposure at a previous hearing, was sentenced by magistrates to 18 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete a 15-day rehabilitation requirement, and participate in the Thames Valley sexual offender treatment programme.

He was also told to pay a court charge of £180 and a victim surcharge of £80.

In mitigation, defence advocate James Rickard told the court that Barnes had experienced difficulties with alcohol abuse, and had been struggling to cope with the death of his mother.

Mr Rickard said: “I think Mr Barnes considers he is amusing at times he is not, and behaves in an inappropriate way.

“I think in the cold light of day, when sober, he certainly accepted to police that what he did was disgusting and disgraceful, but my feeling is he is a fantasist in a lot of ways.

“He is a man who has clearly led a colourful life, that’s recently been hindered as a result of alcohol abuse, bereavement and inability to cope with bereavement.”

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