A ‘disgraceful’ sex offender who claimed he was just ‘holding a bird’ has been jailed for performing a sex act in front of a young boy at a petrol station.
CCTV footage played at Gary Paintin’s two-day trial showed how he manoeuvred his white Honda Civic alongside a vehicle containing a six-year-old boy inside alone at a Hampshire petrol station.
Paintin, 49, seized the one-minute and 42-second window he had while the victim’s mother paid for her fuel to respond to the cheery boy’s wave and innocent thumbs up by first returning the gesture then exposing himself.
The blatant pervert, of Marldell Close, Havant, drove off without ever leaving his car before the boy’s parent arrived back and the youngster blurted out about the ‘bad man’.
After being tracked across Hampshire by number plate recognition and arrested, Paintin denied engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
Paintin instructed lawyers to defend him on the basis he was ‘holding a bird that had got free in his car’ after braking hard on the motorway - but could not even bring himself to repeat his ludicrous lies in front of a jury.
Jurors just took 26 minutes to convict him having heard he had a conviction in 2008 for following a school bus performing a sex act in his car, and another in 2011 for offering a 16-year-old girl ‘a tenner’ if she would perform a lewd act.
Jailing him for two and a half years on Wednesday, judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘This isn’t just exhibitionism it’s more like an assault in a way.’
He added: ‘It was quite a disgraceful thing to have done.’
Jurors were shocked as it was revealed the defendant goes by eight aliases and has 47 convictions for 29 offences.
Bravely giving evidence at the trial, the young boy rejected Paintin’s claim he was holding a bird - pointing out he knew what a bird looked like.
In a police video the victim, who suffers from nightmares since the incident, said: ‘He wiggled it at me side to side. Then I looked up and he was trying to do it again when I was looking at him and then he left.’
Answering police questions, the boy said he told his mum: ‘That man who just left is a bad man because he showed me (himself).’
The boy told officers he had waved - in a style he picked from the TV children’s character Justin, who plays Mr Tumble - before Paintin embarked on his vile act.
Praising her son for going through the court process bravely, his mother said: ‘I’m immensely proud of him. I feel angry that he had to go through this and I feel angry that a guilty plea was not made.’
The boy’s dad added: ‘Abuse is endemic and children need emotional support and they need for a system to work for them - to believe them, to listen to them - and we are grateful in this case that has happened.’
Both praised DC Mark Reynolds for investigating and urged child abuse victims to come forward.
In court, prosecutor Martyn Booth said Paintin had a ‘troubling and concerning attraction towards children’.
Addressing the judge before the jury trial started, prosecutor Martyn Booth said: ‘The crown's case is that he was exposing and playing with (himself).
‘The defence case is that he was holding a bird that had got free in his car and that must've been what the boy had seen.’
Sam Barker, defending, had urged the judge to sentence him another day as Paintin had ‘200 birds and he has not set in place any care for those’.
He added: ‘In the circumstances he would either wish to free them or sell them so that they don’t suffer unnecessary suffering’.
Judge Hetherington gave the defendant bail to sort out the birds at around 1pm ordering him to be back by 2pm for sentencing. Paintin fled court with his key in hand - but returned in time to be jailed.
Paintin must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and a sexual harm prevention order bans him from being with children.