October 2018

Pervert caught masturbating in toilets at water sports centre walks free from court

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Darren Hale pleasured himself at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre when a child and his grandad were nearby

A pervert caught masturbating in the toilets at a water sports centre has walked free from court.

Staff spotted Darren Hale showing “an unusual level of interest” in the gents facilities at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre.

Liverpool Crown Court heard he made “an unusually large number of visits” to the toilets on Tuesday, July 24 this year.

A worker decided to monitor Hale, 28, when he saw him hanging around by the block again on Thursday, July 26.

He was aware a six-year-old boy had gone into the toilets with his grandad and went to check everything was okay.

Mike Stephenson, prosecuting, said he saw Hale masturbating at a urinal, next to a cubicle the boy could be heard speaking in.

He said Hale seemed to be aware of the member of staff’s presence “but this didn’t deter him – he continued to masturbate”.

Mr Stephenson said Hale “engaged in the act in that location with disregard to whether he was observed by others”.

Prosecutors accepted the child was unaware of what was happening but his grandad could tell and encouraged the boy to leave.

Mr Stephenson said Hale “eventually finished what he was doing” and left the centre at Crosby Coastal Park.

Hale, of Ashdale Road, Waterloo, was captured on CCTV cameras entering and leaving the building in Cambridge Road.

CCTV stills were released and he was identified by members of the public following a police appeal in the ECHO.

Hale, who has no previous convictions, admitted exposure and engaging in sexual activity in public toilets.

He was accused of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, but prosecutors offered no evidence on this charge.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, said Hale was being monitored due to concerning behaviour before the incident.

He said: “There are some worrying features to the circumstances surrounding this offence.

“The inference to be drawn is there was an element of planning, if not targeting, not necessarily of specific individuals.

“While it may not have been your intention for anybody necessarily to observe that which you were doing, it was in total disregard to others, who may include children.”

Judge Aubrey said Hale – who is now engaging with local services – needed to have his mental health difficulties addressed.

He said: “You recognise what you were doing and accept you were doing so for your sexual gratification and a perceived sense of some form of excitement.

“It is in the interests of the public at large and in your interest that these issues are addressed by the imposition of a community sentence.”

The judge gave him a three-year community order and told him to attend a sex offender treatment programme and to carry out a 20-day rehabilitation course.

He made a five-year restraining order banning him from the centre and ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.