June 2020

Pervert exposed himself three times in Cockermouth

A flasher who exposed himself three times during a visit to Cockermouth – including to a teenager – was previously prosecuted for offering schoolgirls cash for sex.

Michael Cowell, 28, committed three fresh offences of indecent exposure during a visit to the west Cumbrian town on Monday, April 13.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how his three victims – a 16-year-old girl, a woman in her 20s, and another in her 40s – were left deeply distressed and disturbed by the experience.

“I felt angry at him,” said the youngest victim.

“I didn’t deserve this… I now feel wary of men and reluctant to walk near them.”

The defendant admitted all three offences.

Prosecutor Hanifa Patel told the court how the defendant – who had a well paid job working on wind turbines – had been in his white works van in Cockermouth when he committed the first offence at 3.15pm.

With his window wound down, he beckoned the first woman over and invited her to look into the van at his exposed genitals, saying: “Excuse me love – have a look at this.”

Just 15 minutes later, he committed the second offence.

The third offence he committed near to the town’s Sainsburys store.

Having seen the schoolgirl, he got out of his parked van and stood in front of her as she was walking past, exposing himself.

Jeff Smith, for the defendant, of Wallasey Drive, The Fairways, Cramlington, said his offending was the result of his “low self-esteem”.

“My instructions are that he gets no sexual satisfaction from exposing himself to these ladies; and he feels remorse,” said the lawyer.

The court heard how in 2015 Cowell was jailed for similar behaviour.

Again while in a van, he had approached girls aged between 13 and 16, offering them money for sex.

Jailing Cowell for a year, Judge Nicholas Barker said the claim that the defendant derived no sexual satisfaction from his actions was “fanciful”.

He noted the “predatory” nature of the earlier offences in 2015.

Judge Barker imposed a five year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told Cowell that his name would go on to the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

He added that he was “extremely tempted” to ban the defendant from driving, as requested by the prosecution barrister, given that both sets of offences involved the defendant using a white van.

But the judge added: “Whilst to remove your driving licence for a period of time would be an additional punishment, it would not improve your prospects of rehabilitation once you are released from custody.”