A FLASHER who indecently exposed himself to two women and a 16-year-old girl in broad daylight in a Cumbrian town has been jailed for a year.
White van man Michael Cowell, 28, committed offences within minutes of each other against three shocked females walking separately in areas of Cockermouth on the mid-afternoon of April 13.
Cowell first approached a woman aged in her 40s while driving in his vehicle with windows down, exposing himself from the driver’s seat as he stated: “Excuse me, love. Have a look at this.” The woman was left “disturbed”, believing Cowell wanted her to be shocked by his lewd behaviour and noting that he “clearly enjoyed what he was doing”.
On foot, Cowell then exposed himself both to a woman aged in her 20s and to a 16-year-old female, jumping out in front of the stunned teen after getting out of his van.
Two of the three victims provided impact statements – read at Carlisle Crown Court today (WED) – which outlined their significant upset at what had happened. “I now know that bad stuff can happen and I feel angry at him,” stated the teenager, who had since felt wary. “I didn’t deserve this to happen to me. I didn’t do anything wrong, yet he still did that.”
Cowell, of Wallasey Drive, The Fairways, Cramlington – who admitted three exposure charges – had been in the Cockermouth area through his employment as a wind turbine operative.
Jeff Smith, defending, said the defendant was apologetic and had been suffering from low self-esteem at the time, but insisted his offending had not been premeditated.
“It was simply in response to mental health problems that Mr Cowell suffers from on occasion,” said Mr Smith. “My instructions are that he receives no sexual gratification for exposing himself. He describes significant remorse for the impact this also will have had on these ladies.”
The court heard Cowell was handed a jail term in 2015 having approached girls aged 13 to 16 and offered them oral sex in exchange for cash.
Jailing Cowell for a total of 12 months for his Cockermouth crimes, Judge Nicholas Barker said: “Your behaviour was lewd, disgusting and repugnant.” Speaking of his conduct towards the three females, Judge Barker added: “It is an invasion of their security. The impact of it is traumatic and lasting.”
Cowell must also sign the sex offenders’ register for life, and was made subject to the strict terms of a five-year sexual harm prevention order.