December 2006

Mums’ anger over sentence for flasher

A PERVERT who exposed himself to three girls in a Coventry street has avoided jail – to the disgust of the victims’ parents.

Robert Banton, formerly of Lakin Road, Warwick, received a community order with a three-year supervision requirement at Coventry Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to indecent exposure.

The 54-year-old businessman was also required to attend a sex offenders’ programme for 300 hours and to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

The court heard that on September 14 Banton approached three girls, aged 11 and 12, in Yarningale Road, Willenhall.

He pulled down his trousers and said: “You like that don’t you girls”, exposing himself for two seconds before they fled.

The court heard that Banton attempted to grab one of them but all three escaped to a local shop.

A witness told the court that he had seen Banton lurking in the area for some time before the offence, watching the children and getting in and out of his car.

Lawrence Watts, defending, said Banton had already lost his home and his business as a result of his actions.

He said: “This was a one-off incident and this man has suffered significantly already as a result of his offending.

“For many years he has been thought of as nothing other than a throughly decent man.”

Sentencing Banton, Judge Patrick Eccles said: “You have gone a significant way towards showing the remorse and shame you should show.

“These girls were extremely frightened by the experience you subjected them to and one does not know the extent to which their trust in adults has been damaged.”

The mothers of the three girls said they were devastated by the court’s decision not to send Banton to jail.

One said: “Our little girls have lost their innocence and he has lost nothing.”

Another added: “As far as I am concerned he remains a threat to society.”

Detective Simon Hanlon, the officer in charge of the case, said: “Obviously the families are very upset. We respect the judge’s decision but we are disappointed for the families.”