A LONE woman at a bus stop was left terrified when a man suddenly committed a lewd act in front of her while chatting and ‘acting normally’, a court heard.
Neil Coles, 50, started a conversation with the woman, in her 30s, at a bus shelter in Waterlooville when she noticed he had unzipped his trousers and started touching himself.
The defendant was sent to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after he pleaded guilty to exposure.
Prosecutor Alicia Keen told the court the victim feared for her safety after witnessing the shocking ordeal on the evening of February 10.
‘The woman went to the bus stop where there was only one other person. After she came off the phone (Coles) asked if she was okay and started a conversation with her,’ she said.
‘When she looked down as she was getting some tobacco out of her bag she saw the man (committing the lewd act).
‘He continued the conversation while doing what he was doing and was quite intensely centred on her. He was acting calmly and normal.’
The woman then made her excuses and went to the nearby police station to report the incident before officers went over to the bus shelter and arrested Coles.
Ms Keen added: ‘The incident made the woman feel sick and shaken with her worried about what might have happened.
‘This was a lone female who was vulnerable and yet he continued even when she saw what was happening – with him continuing to engage in conversation with her.’
The victim’s impact statement, read out to the court, said: ‘I never go out anymore and am more cautious and aware of my surroundings now. I still think of what might have happened.’
Defending, Lucy Linington, said unemployed Coles, of Delft Gardens, Waterlooville, had previous good character and had been drinking vodka that evening.
‘There was never any suggestion he was going to cause the woman any other harm,’ she said.
Presiding magistrate, Sue Waddle, said: ‘The female was vulnerable. It was dark and she was on her own and you made no attempt to stop what you were doing.’
Coles was told to pay £200 to the victim as compensation, as well as £85 court costs and £115 surcharge.
He was also put on the sex offender’s register, told to undertake 25 days of rehabilitation activities and regularly report to police.