Sex offender handed two year park ban

Stanley Park

Stanley Park

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A teenager who targeted a woman, repeatedly exposing himself to her, and who sexually assaulted a girl has been banned from Blackpool’s Stanley Park for two years.

Joseph Ashe was told by a judge: “It is important you understand the harm you have done.”

And today one of his victims said she was glad he had been put on the Sex Offenders’ Register to protect others.

Judge Robert Altham, sitting at Preston Crown Court, referred to impact statements made by the two victims.

The older woman has suffered panic attacks and nightmares as a result of being subjected to three separate incidents.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old victim, who was assaulted by Ashe, felt stress and anxiety at having to give evidence.

Ashe, 19, of Ascot Road, near the park in Blackpool, had denied three offences of exposure and one of sexual assault, but a jury convicted him following a trial.

The first offences occurred in 2012 when he was under 18. The other two happened in July and October last year.

Tina Landale, prosecuting, said a woman contacted police after the defendant first exposed himself to her in July 2012 in the park.

Then, on October 2012, while she was walking her dog in the park, the same thing happened. This was also reported to police.

The third incident involving her took place on July the following year. Ashe cycled past the woman, went into a wooded area and again exposed himself to her.

Finally, on October 10 last year a 17-year-old girl, wearing headphones, was walking in the park. Ashe approached her from behind, said something she could not quite catch and then assaulted her.

As the girl joined a friend, she overheard a woman on the phone telling police she had seen a man who had exposed himself to her on a number of occasions in the park. The defendant was arrested.

Both victims identified Ashe as being responsible.

John Woodward, defending, said his client still denied the offences.

“These matters have been hanging over his head now for some time. His life has been on hold for a period of time.

“He has not come to the attention of the police since the last offence, nearly a year ago.”

Ashe was said to have had difficulties around that time through using cannabis.

Mr Woodward added: “He had very much learned his lesson in that regard. He doesn’t smoke cannabis any more and feels an awful lot better for doing that.”

Ashe was given 26 weeks youth custody, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision and 200 hours unpaid work. He will be on the Sex Offender’s Register for seven years. A two-year exclusion order was made, barring him from entering Stanley Park. He was also handed a two-year restraining order not to approach his first victim.

One of his victims told The Gazette: “It has made me very nervous walking in the park. I’m glad he has been put on the Sex Offender’s Register to protect other walkers.”