St Albans flasher escapes jail term

PUBLISHED: 19:06 20 March 2014

Archant

A flasher with a “long and disturbing history” who followed two girls in St Albans and exposed himself to them has escaped a prison term.

David Banham, of Tavistock Close, received a suspended sentence after pursuing an 18-year-old and her sister and pleasuring himself in front of them.

The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to intentionally exposing his genitals intending that someone would see them when he appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court on Monday.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, one of the girls said: “He looked straight at me whilst he was doing this and I caught his eye and he looked at me and continued contact with me.

“Throughout this experience I was extremely scared, I felt violated that I had to watch that man. I felt I was targeted. I’m now concerned that he knows who I am and that he will come back and find me.”

The court heard how the pair caught a bus from Batchwood to St Peter’s Street at around 3.30am on Saturday, February 1, when they noticed Banham’s car parked next to Waterstones.

As they walked on they saw his car again, this time parked by the postbox on Holywell Hill. The father-of-one got out of the car and walked in front of them and cut across their path before heading into an alley next to Café Rouge.

When the girls approached Westminster Lodge leisure centre they saw the car parked in the road opposite and noticed Banham by the passenger side exposing himself.

Prosecutor Jan Brooks said that according to the police, the defendant had a long and disturbing history.

She went on: “To his credit he has made admissions, and he said that he doesn’t do this for sexual gratification but for power control with the intended targets.”

Defending Banham, Anne Woodcock said that although the experience must have been very unpleasant and frightening for the victims, there was not any suggestion he spoke to them.

She added he kept a distance between the victims and himself and that there did not appear to be any “aggressive features” in the incident.

The contract cleaner was arrested a day after the offence by police after his vehicle was traced and he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

This is not the first time he has been reprimanded for exposing himself and he has committed a number of offences between 1981 and 2003.

He previously received a community order for being naked in a field in front of two girls who were horse riding.

Miss Woodcock said a combination of factors led the defendant to reoffend including the fact that a person who had apparently abused him would not be further prosecuted.

The court also heard he had been out drinking with friends prior to the incident which he agreed was a trigger for his behaviour. Miss Woodcock added since the incident he had given up drinking and planned to receive therapy at a local clinic.

Addressing Banham, chair of the bench Mr Guy Marx, said: “We found that this offence is so serious that a custodial sentence is our only option. A custodial sentence will however be a suspended sentence; it will be suspended for a two year period.

“Now you will also be facing a prohibited activity requirement which will run for the same period of time, which is two years, and that will be for no alcohol to be consumed in a public place.”

Banham also received a two year long supervision order and was placed on the sex offenders register for seven years. He was ordered to pay costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £80 and compensation costs to the primary injured party of £250.

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