Children rushed inside as naked man approaches school playground
A naked man high on drugs performed a sex act through a set of primary school railings in the middle of the afternoon.
Anthony Gallagher, 34, was spotted walking along Alderwood Avenue in Speke “naked save for a pair of trainers and socks”.
A woman saw him go past her home – heading towards Middlefield Primary School – at around 1.30pm on June 24 this year.
Liverpool Crown Court heard children of key workers were playing on the playground, but “thankfully” the alarm was raised.
Sarah Gruffydd, prosecuting, said: “Someone had warned the headteacher of the primary school that there was a naked man heading towards that school.”
Staff took the children inside moments before Gallagher, of Little Heath Road, Speke, arrived and walked up to the railings.
Ms Gruffydd said: “At one point he pushed his crotch through the railings and was thrusting back and forth. He then put his hand through the railings in front of his crotch and appeared to be touching himself as he thrust back and forwards.”
She said a male passing on a bike said something to Gallagher, who walked away sideways, with his back to the school, then hid in bushes on Oldbridge Road.
He was arrested by two police officers who said Gallagher was “unsteady on his feet, erratic and waving his arms” and saying it was “the end of the world”.
They believed he was on drugs and when interviewed, Gallagher appeared to have no recollection of the incident.
He denied outraging public decency and was set to stand trial, but later admitted the offence.
People convicted of this charge are not required to sign on the Sex Offenders Register.
Gallagher’s 19 previous convictions for 36 offences include possessing and producing drugs, “low level violence”, theft and public disorder.
He was last convicted of shoplifting and jailed for eight weeks in January this year.
Prosecutors said there was no suggestion Gallagher was actually performing a sex act, but Judge Menary disagreed.
He said: “By good fortune, and not surprisingly, the news of a naked man out for a stroll reached the attention of the head teacher of that school, and he and his staff were able to usher the children in from the playground just in time to avoid an alarming sight.
“You were then seen by passers-by to to be paying particular attention to some fencing nearby.
“You were seen to push your naked penis through a metal fence and then reach through and play with yourself, effectively masturbating in public.”
The judge said Gallagher was “very substantially under the influence of drugs.”
However, he added: “You have it seems a limited recollection of what you were doing, but you recognise by your plea of guilty that disinhibited behaviour of this sort, as a result of voluntary intoxication, does not amount to any sort of defence.
“Though in the pre-sentence report you question whether you were in fact masturbating, the evidence seems clear that is what you were doing, and plainly you had a sufficient wherewithal to behave in that way.
“Drug induced, involuntary limb movements of moving your hands up and down which look like masturbation aren’t usually associated with involuntary actions.”
The judge said Gallagher’s criminal record showed “something of a chaotic life” and the fact this was “in broad daylight, very near to a school” and “indecent activity”, meant only prison was appropriate as he jailed him for five months.