November 2018

Pokemon GO player ‘horrified’ to find man committing sex act in Bath park

A Pokemon GO player was horrified to discover a man she initially thought was playing the mobile phone game was actually committing a solo sex act in his car.

Bath Magistrates’ Court heard how the victim was heading through Royal Victoria Park in Bath on her way to work, playing Pokemon GO, when she saw Michael Babbs in his Ford Fiesta at around 8.30am on July 24.

Prosecutor Jeremy Oliver said that when Babbs was discovered by the ‘sickened’ and ‘horrified’ victim, he drove off quickly.

She managed to take a photo of his car registration number and then called the police.

Babbs, 46, whose address was said to be “of no fixed abode” in Wrexham, admitted an act of outraging public decency when he appeared in court on Wednesday.

In a statement read by prosecutor Jeremy Oliver, the victim said she was completely sickened by what she saw.

She said: “There could easily have been a child there. I was horrified by what I saw. I was worried it could escalate if it went unchecked.”

Babbs, who is not on the sex offenders’ register, had committed an ‘identical offence’ two years prior by exposing his genitalia in a public place, Mr Oliver said.

Babbs was given a community order for three years for that offence. The order was revoked in December 2017 because a community rehabilitation company deemed that it was no longer necessary and the rehab service had achieved its aims for Babbs.

The head magistrate told Babbs: “We have been asked to consider a custodial sentence. We have decided to take a step back from that.

“Our reasons are the early guilty plea, the mitigation and the steps you have taken to address this.

“You will receive a community order for three years, 25 RAH days (rehabilitation activity requirement) and 55 days of the Horizon programme (a sex offender treatment programme).

“This will address some of the issues that you have. We recommend you carry on with the private therapy. We feel the work over the next three years should address your problems.

“If you breach anything in the next three years you could face a custodial sentence.”

He was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £85 too.