A Lakes tourist who gave homophobic verbal abuse to two female paddleboarders, causing them to flee the area in panic, has been punished in court.
The two holidaymakers stopped in an Ullswater road layby, near Pooley Bridge, at around 5pm on September 2.
They went paddleboarding and, when they returned an hour later, saw fellow holidaymaker Timothy John Astbury, 46, whose vehicle was parked beside them.
Prosecutor George Shelley told Carlisle Magistrates’ Court they had reported a confrontation with Astbury, who had asked: “Are you two lesbians?”. He was then said to have called them lefty leeches of the world, adding: “Parasites, all of you.”
They tried to calm him down but comments continued. “This caused both females to fear alarm or distress,” said Mr Shelley. They gathered all of their equipment together, still wet from paddleboarding, feeling they needed to leave the area “immediately”.
They noted down the camper van’s registration number as they departed and alerted police. The vehicle was located at Penrith’s Morrisons store and Astbury was arrested. In interview, he admitted an altercation although “not as alleged”, the court heard.
A man of previous good character, he admitted a public order charge which Mr Shelley called a hate crime due to comments on sexual orientation.
Astbury told the court he was a regular visitor to Ullswater but had not returned since the incident. He had been on a bike ride, had a couple of drinks and said he initially began speaking to them in a complimentary manner.
He admitted then raising his voice but insisted he wasn’t looking at them when he spoke and that the camper van door was closed. “They could easily have construed it was directed at them,” he said.
Astbury, of Shotesham All Saints, near Norwich, also told the district judge, John Temperley: “I regret the whole thing entirely.”
He was fined £300 by the district judge, John Temperley, and ordered to pay a £120 mandatory surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.