James Tomlinson, 31, has been handed a suspended prison sentence for exposing himself to a 14-year-old girl. The incident occurred in Ross-on-Wye after Tomlinson asked the girl for directions. Initially denying the charge, he later pleaded guilty on the day of his trial in Herefordshire. The case was subsequently sent to Workington Magistrates’ Court for sentencing.

Prosecutor Pamela Fee recounted that the victim had been in a car with her mother and brother on 18 February of the previous year. Her brother was learning to drive, and feeling apprehensive about it, she decided to walk home. It was during this walk that Tomlinson stopped his car and began asking her for directions. The prosecutor stated that Tomlinson seemed to be “drawing out the conversation,” making the victim feel uneasy.

Tomlinson made a comment along the lines of, “what do you think of this?” The victim then realised he had exposed his genitals and was engaging in a sexual act. Feeling “very frightened,” the victim thought Tomlinson was going to follow her. She reached her house just as her mother and brother arrived.

While admitting he had been present on the road, he denied exposing himself. Pamela Fee noted that the offence was aggravated by the victim’s vulnerability due to her age and the fact that Tomlinson had targeted her because she was alone.

Representing himself, Tomlinson told the court, “It’s been a real ordeal. I’m sorry the girl has had to go through this experience. I want to get my life back on track. I have got a partner and we want to look to the future and do things with our lives.”

Residing in Newlands Lane, Workington, Tomlinson was sentenced to 23 weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months. He is required to complete 10 rehabilitation activity days and to pay £500 in costs along with a £154 victim surcharge. Tomlinson was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for a period of seven years.