November 2019

Flasher squaddie lured young girls into secluded woods before exposing himself

A serving soldier lured four young girls into the woods and indecently exposed himself to them.

Squaddie Bradley Hearne told the girls, who were all aged under 13, he had lost his dog and asked if they would help him look for it.

But his story was false and, instead, he enticed them into the secluded woods where he carried out the offence.

The 22-year-old, who Derby Crown Court was told was viewing pornography on his phone moments earlier, left one of the girls “visibly shaking” by her ordeal.

Handing him a three-year community order, Judge Michael Jackson said: “On May 13 you lured four young girls away to some woodlands with a false story asking them to help you look for your dog.

“When you had enticed them into a secluded area, you exposed yourself to them. One of those children now speaks about how she was scared by that experience and that is not surprising.”

Luc Chignall, prosecuting, said the offence happened at around 4.30pm on May 13.

He said the victims were all playing at a park near Station Road, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, when Hearne approached them.

Mr Chignall said: “He showed them a photo of a dog saying it was his and asked if they would help him look for it. But it was fictitious, it was (a picture) on Google. He then enticed them to a wooded area and exposed himself to the four girls.”

Mr Chignall said the victims all ran away and one of them phoned the police who arrived swiftly.

He said Hearne – who is soon leaving the Royal Lancers – had been seen at a nearby shop prior to the offence and an officer went to view CCTV footage from the store.

Completely by chance, Hearne walked into the shop while the officer was looking at the footage and she arrested him.

In interview, he maintained he had asked the girls to help him look for his lost dog and that he had not carried out any crime. But he later pleaded guilty to one count of indecent exposure.

Hearne, who is of previous good character, was living in the area with his partner at the time, though his address was listed as Hazelwood Drive, Barnsley.

He also has an army address of Cambrai Barracks, at Catterick Garrison.

Katy Rafter, mitigating, said her client is still a serving soldier but is leaving the British Army in April.

As part of the three-year community order, Hearne will undergo rehabilitation sessions and programs aimed at addressing his behaviour.

He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid work and was handed a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

He will also be on the sex offender’s register for five years.