September 2020

Man who masturbated in front of schoolchildren avoids jail

A convicted sex offender has avoided jail after masturbating in front of terrified schoolchildren as they walked past his house.

Pupils were left ‘shocked and appalled’ after seeing Stephen Fullerton, 63, ‘naked and groping his crotch area’ in front of his living room window.

After hearing about Fullerton’s ‘disgusting behaviour’ from pupils, a teacher went to investigate and also found him masturbating in full view at his home in Morpeth, Northumberland.

Retired Fullerton continued offending even after he was arrested and released under investigation, heard Newcastle Crown Court.

He also has a previous conviction for making indecent images of children from 2009.

He has been given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years after admitting three offences of outraging public decency and one of exposure.

Fullerton committed the offences between March and May last year, when he knew there would be a ‘parade of children going past’, the court was told.

In the first offence, a teenager saw Fullerton masturbating around a metre and a half away from the window.

On another day, the same girl saw him again while she was with a friend. Lewis Kerr, prosecuting, said: ‘He had his hand behind one of his knees holding his leg up and spreading them.’ A few days later a school teacher went to look.

Fullerton was seen wearing a dark shirt and bobble hat but was naked from the waist down sitting in the living room ‘rocking back and forth with his hands groping his genital area’.

He was arrested but released under investigation and continued his behaviour.

One girl saw Fullerton naked with his leg straddling over a table and ‘doing something with his genitals’.

A teenager said in a victim impact statement: ‘I’m shocked and appalled by what has happened. At the time I couldn’t face speaking to anyone about it. ‘I was having difficulty concentrating due to the thought this man would be there again and I would have to see his disgusting behaviour.’

As well as the suspended sentence, Fullerton was fined £1,000 and must undertake a sex offenders treatment programme.

Judge Julie Clemitson said Fullerton ‘presents a risk to children which needs to be addressed if children are to be protected from you’.