January 2017

Flasher avoids jail after exposing himself to schoolgirls

A pervert who flashed at schoolgirls and performed a sex act while sitting in his sports car has been spared jail after a judge said he could take an exceptional course.

Jason Wheeler was instead hit by a heavy financial penalty, including paying his four victims £250 compensation each for the distress they suffered and a £750 fine.

A judge said the 27-year-old plumber was a hard working man and colleagues and family members had written in positive terms about their respect and admiration for him.

“That by itself can’t save you, but the court takes into account the offending was out of character,” he said.

“It is highly relevant you have been waiting an almost unconscionable time for a decision to be made as to whether you should be prosecuted.”

Maidstone Crown Court heard Wheeler, of Court Lodge Road, Glllingham, committed the offences in the early morning when children were walking to school in October 2015.

One girl, 15, saw Wheeler drive up in his silver Nissan car and ask her if she wanted a lift to school. She declined but he stopped in front of her, slouched back in his seat and asked: “Do you like that?”

Prosecutor Keith Yardy said the shocked and frightened girl saw that Wheeler was performing a sex act.

Her friend had a similar experience when he tried to entice her into his car. He again performed the sex act and told her: “Come on, you want to get in now don’t you?”

The first girl saw him again in the car with black tinted windows two days later and took down the registration number and called the police.

Another girl, 14, was near shops in Garfield Road, Gillingham, when Wheeler wound down his window and said: “Look at me and get in the car. Do you want some fun and come with me?”

The fourth victim, also 14, saw him in his parked car and heard him call out “Oi” several times. He pointed to his lap and said: “Look what I’ve got.”

When arrested on October 16, Wheeler claimed it had all been for a joke.

The court heard his dash cam showed he had approached other girls in uniform on the way to school.

Wheeler admitted four offences of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of children. As well as the compensation and fine, he was ordered to pay £260 costs.

His name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and a sexual harm prevention order was made.

Judge Jeremy Carey decided not to make a deprivation order for the sports car, said to be worth £8,500. He also has a Volkswagen Golf.

Suspending 16 months imprisonment for two years and imposing 150 hours unpaid work, he added: “I reach the conclusion I will take this exceptional course of not sending you straight to prison.

“If you step out of line you will not get a second chance.”

Wheeler was given until February 3 to pay the compensation. He will have to attend court for a review of his progress on July 28.

Judge Carey said the victims were real people who should be protected “from this obscene and unpleasant sight”, adding: “It is quite revolting.”

He continued: “Why shouldn’t these girls receive a modest sum to compensate them?”

The judge said of one victim: “You weren’t enticing her. In fact, you were revolting her and frightening her.

“You would have no complaint were there to be an immediate custodial sentence. The court does not underestimate the impact of offending on children.”

Judge Carey said Wheeler having to wait so long to hear whether he would prosecuted must have been “particularly unpleasant” and was a sort of punishment.

“It may well be you will have to sell the car to pay the sums,” said the judge. “For that reason, it seems justice is served.”