A Ripley man has been found guilty of five counts of indecent exposure in the town after a three day trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
Ashley John Shaw, 41, of Heage Road, exposed parts of his body to women - and on two occasions children - while jogging near his home wearing women’s shorts during May of last year.
The prosecution case had it that Shaw deliberately wore clothing that he knew was likely to cause alarm and distress - even though he maintained that the tight black Tesco brand ‘knickers’ were suitable for cycling and jogging.
On hearing the guilty verdict judge Andrew Hamilton told Shaw: “You have been convicted on what seems to me overwhelming evidence. How anyone could imagine you could ride a bicycle in those shorts, or women’s knickers, I can’t imagine.”
He is due to be sentenced on April 26 and has been bailed on the condition he signs the Sex Offender Register, does not go out jogging and sleeps every night at his home on Heage Road.
The charges related to five separate incidents on May 3, 9 and 11 in which five witnesses saw Shaw running in the shorts. On three of those occasions he actively pulled them up to reveal private parts of his body - smiling at his victims as he did so.
On May 3, when Shaw exposed himself to a woman on School Lane, she confronted him, telling him to cover up. Shaw ‘grinned’ at her and continued running.
On May 9, he exposed himself to a woman and her seven-year-old son in an alleyway between Field Terrace and Ivy Grove.
And on May 11 he displayed himself to a woman and her three children - all of primary school age.
Throughout the three day trial, Shaw told the court he only went out running infrequently as he was mainly a cyclist - but had only recently taken it up as his bicycle was in need of repair.
He denied being sighted on May 9 because he said he was at home on the phone to his dentist in Swanwick at the time - as he was suffering from a severe toothache - even though CCTV footage taken from Manders Garage on Derby Road appeared to show a man dressed as he often was - in tight black shorts and a red and black Formula One sweat top bearing the name of racing driver Fernando Alonso.
Shaw was caught shortly after a woman had confronted him on Crossley Park on May 11. He had run by with private parts of his body hanging loose. Plain clothed police officers arrested him in the ‘knickers’ witnesses had reported and a the running top minutes later.
But throughout he fervently denied that his jogging route took him near the Derby Road and Heath Road area, where he had been spotted. In one of his four police interviews he said interview he said: “They may have seen somebody, but it’s not me they’ve seen.”
His normal routes, he said, were around the Heage Road area and although admitting that he wore a pair of small shorts to jog in- he did not think they were inappropriate and were worn for comfort. He bought the garment from a car boot sale in Tansley thinking it was ‘unisex’, not knowing it was Tesco brand women’s underwear, he claimed.
“It’s something I just quickly throw on, I don’t think about it” he said. “I’m not denying I have been out in that gear, because it’s my cycling gear.”
In mitigation barrister Martin Elwick reminded the jury that Shaw was not picked out as the suspect in any of nine identity parades held with him in it. He also argued that Shaw may have not deliberately intended to expose himself.
Addressing the jury he said: “He has to have taken a deliberate course of action to expose himself (to be convicted). If it were accidental, if he were not wearing suitable clothing, he would not be guilty of the offence.”
But Sarah Munro for the Crown Prosecution Service said it was just too unlikely that there could be two men running around Ripley in black knickers - and that Shaw bought the garments because he got a ‘thrill’ from the reactions of his victims seeing him in them.
In her summing up she said to jurors: “This is a very serious case, where a person that is going out in Ripley doing this to shock and alarm - for that shock factor to the people he’s exposing himself to.”