May 2019

Pair jailed over shocking act of public indecency outside Worthing’s Guildbourne Centre

Two street drinkers who engaged in an act of public indecency outside a Worthing shopping centre have been jailed.

Richard Dawkins, 49, of Northbrook Road, Worthing, and James Pannel, 52, of Mansell Road, Shoreham, were each given 16-week sentences for outraging public decency at Brighton Magistrates’ Court this morning (May 15).

Both had pleaded guilty to the charges, which related to an act of public indecency that took place outside the Guildbourne Centre on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 23.

Chairman of the bench Ian Goodwin said several aggravating factors meant an immediate prison sentence was appropriate.

“The nature of the offence was not pleasant and completed with complete disregard for the shock and distress you inevitably called to the public,” he said.

“You are at a high risk of sexual offending and had limited engagement with probation.”

A statement from an eyewitness said she was over the road from the pair and saw one man standing in front of another who was sat on a bench.

“I then saw a young man starting to run across the road and realised that the man standing was receiving oral sex from a man seated on the bench,” the statement said.

The court heard that on April 23, Pannel, who has a previous conviction for engaging in sexual activity in a lavatory, had drunk one-and-a-half litres of vodka before sitting on the bench outside the Guildbourne Centre.

Dawkins was also in breach of two ongoing community orders – one for assaulting an emergency worker and one for convictions of theft and assault.

Summing up, Mr Goodwin said the pair’s sentences had been reduced from 24 weeks due to their guilty pleas, but both would be monitored for 12 months once released. Both were also ordered to pay a £115 surcharge.