August 2020

Serial flasher who disgusted shoppers walks free from court

A serial flasher and convicted paedophile with an appaling history of sexual offended who disgusted shoppers has been spared prison – despite a judge saying he was taking a “huge risk” by doing so.

Chris Williamson exposed himself to a female customer in a Sports Direct store at Croft Retail Park in Bromborough.

Two months later, the 54-year-old flashed at a man and woman at the H&M on the same site, while young girls were nearby.

Liverpool Crown Court today heard he is a convicted paedophile, with an “appalling” history of sex attacks and exposure.

But he walked free from court after Judge Garret Byrne told him he had “no confidence” that jail “will do anything to stop you behaving in this way”.

He handed Williamson 14 months in prison, suspended for two years, plus 35 sessions of a Horizon sex offenders treatment programme and a 30-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

The judge said: “Now, I’m taking a huge risk, but if you were to go out and expose yourself again within that two-year period, you will be brought back to court, dealt with for the new offences and I hope brought before me, and just so we’re clear, if that happens, you will go to prison for 14 months. Do you understand?”

Williamson, of Shore Road, Caldy, Wirral, mumbled: “Yes.”

The pervert approached the woman – who was helping a vulnerable person – in Sports Direct on Saturday, December 19 last year.

Simon Leong, prosecuting, said she thought he just wanted to get past, so moved aside, but then saw his penis was exposed.

The victim told staff, who called police and searched for Williamson, but CCTV footage showed he left the store almost immediately.

An image of Williamson was obtained from Halfords and CCTV of him entering and leaving Sports Direct was circulated to officers.

However, on the afternoon of Sunday, February 2 he struck again at the same retail park, this time in H&M.

Mr Leong said a man and woman both saw Williamson in the disabled changing room, “naked from the waist down”.

The curtain was drawn across, but tapered until it was open near the floor, despite the fact it could have been closed properly.

The man saw Williamson come out, pick up more T-shirts, then head back to the changing rooms.

At this point some young girls were nearby, so he went to see if Williamson was still there.

He saw him in the same changing room, again naked from the waist down, with his hand near his crotch.

The man warned the girls to move, which they did, and told staff, as Williamson – now fully clothed – left quickly.

The female victim ran after Williamson and took a photo of him on her mobile phone, which along with CCTV from H&M and a photo of his convertible car parked outside, was circulated to officers.

He was identified then arrested and interviewed on February 26, when he denied the offences, claiming he couldn’t recall being there on either occasion or exposing himself, and wasn’t certain the man photographed was him.

Williamson, who admitted two counts of exposure, was also convicted of this offence in 1987 and in 1988.

He was jailed for 40 months in 2009, for sexual assault and causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Williamson was then convicted of exposure in 2013, outraging public decency in 2014, two counts of exposure in 2015, and exposure in 2016.

For three counts of exposure in 2018 he was jailed for 14 months and was still on post-licence supervision at the time of these offences.

Mr Leong told the court that while it couldn’t be said the young girls in H&M saw Williamson, they were in the vicinity.

Rebecca Smith, defending, said her client conceded he had an “appalling history” and knew he was likely to go to prison.

Judge Byrne said: “Mr Williamson, everything seems to have been tried in your case. Nothing has worked to stop you doing this – probation, suspended sentences and immediate sentences of imprisonment.

“This sort of behaviour has caused anxiety and disgusted those who witnessed it.”

Judge Byrne told Williamson: “You seem unable or unwilling to reflect on the impact of your behaviour on other people.”

The judge added: “I’ve read your letter, looking with hope for some sign of any sort of remorse, or any indication that you’re capable of insight into why you do this, and any indication of any remorse, and I can’t find it.”

He said the report found Williamson had an “established pattern of behaviour” and “dismissive attitude” to previous supervision, all of which pointed to sending him to jail, but said: “I’m going to take a chance on you.”

Judge Byrne said: “I was going to send you straight to prison, but apart from punishing you, I have no confidence that it will do anything to stop you behaving in this way and a more productive approach might be to adopt the recommendation in the pre-sentence report.”