January 2021

Pervert OAP followed little girl in Lidl and ‘performed sex act’

An OAP followed two young children in Lidl as he exposed himself and performed a lewd act.

The children were doing Christmas shopping with their mum at the Southport supermarket when John Harrington followed them and looked the little girl ‘up and down’ with his genitals exposed.

Their mum said the family were left “traumatised” and the young boy was “afraid the man was going to get him”.

The 75-year-old exposed himself to an 18-year-old student the next day and, as he was being charged for those crimes, performed the act in front of an elderly dementia sufferer.

Liverpool Crown Court heard he had waited for the terms of a suspended sentence to expire before finding his next victims.

David Polglase, prosecuting, explained in the first incident in 2019 a mum was doing the grocery shopping in the Lidl on Virginia Street and her children were looking at the Christmas items.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, “describes seeing the defendant in an electric mobility scooter” as he followed the children and the family as a whole.

The mum became concerned by his behaviour and so called her children over and told them to hold hands.

Mr Polglase said as he went past the family she “saw his trousers undone enough to show the top of his leg” and said he was moving his hand up and down”.

The woman told him he was a “dirty b******” and the court heard that as she went with her children to find staff her “son was trembling” and “afraid the man was going to get him”.

The mum also said Harrington was “looking her daughter up and down” as he appeared to perform the act and also followed the young girl.

Police were called after he followed the family into the car park.

Mr Polglase, summarising a victim impact statement, said: “She describes her children and herself being traumatised and disgusted.

“Her son was in tears and frightened. She says they were all left, to an extent, scared.”

Mr Polglase explained the woman’s son “couldn’t sleep at night” and her daughter would “break down on occasion”.

The court heard if the children now go anywhere near the supermarket “their demeanor changed”.

In the statement the mum describes “some degree of the children’s innocence being taken away”.

The following day an 18-year-old student was at a bus stop when she heard members of the public shout ‘pack it in’.

Mr Polglase stated that she then saw Harrington, again in his mobility scooter, performing a sex act on himself with his genitals exposed.

The court heard that after court proceedings for those two cases began Harrington exposed himself again, this time in a care home in front of an elderly dementia sufferer.

In an interview, referring to the exposure in Lidl Harrington “said he had done it because he could” and to “see how people reacted”, claiming he wasn’t targeting children.

Harrington, of Albert Road, Southport, admitted two counts of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), imposed following a previous exposure, and three counts of exposure.

He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years and was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the same period of time.

The court heard he has previous convictions for the same offence and in July 2010 was handed a community order for exposure.

In September 2018 he was convicted of two counts of exposure for which he was handed a 16 week sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to adhere to a 10 year SHPO, which he breached with these offences.

October 2018

Pervert pensioner banned from park for 10 years after flashing in front of children

A pervert pensioner who exposed himself in front of children in a Southport park was spared jail.

John Harrington, 73, was handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to twice exposing his genitals at Hesketh Park.

The step-father of one of the victims said he was ‘disappointed, but not surprised’ after the pensioner avoided prison.

Harrington, who lives in a care home on Albert Road, pleaded guilty to offences in December 2016 and July 2017.

Harrington appeared at Sefton Magistrates Court today in a wheelchair and accompanied by two carers.

A report prepared for District Judge McCormack explained that both his physical and mental health are deteriorating and that his condition is now so bad that he cannot leave the home without the assistance of carers.

Mr Murphy said that Harrington had fully co-operated with police and voluntarily brought up previous offences when interviewed.

Summing up, Judge McCormack said: “This is a very disturbing case and there are aggravating circumstances in this being a public place and there being children among the victims.

“These matters clearly are very serious and I am of the opinion that they cross the custody threshold.”

Harrington, who receives incapacity benefit, was given a suspended sentence of 16 weeks and was ordered to undergo a rehabilitation programme.

He was also fined £195 and was hit with a 10-year Sexual Harm Order which bans him from entering Hesketh Park and having contact with anyone under the age of 16.

The step-father of a young girl who was one of the victims said: “I’m disappointed he has not received a custodial sentence, especially given it’s not the first time he’s done it.

“I expected it but I’m still disappointed.

“If he’s done it more than once then surely there’s a risk he’ll do it again to someone else.

“I would have liked him to see the inside of a prison.”