July 2021

Sex offender who exposed himself to teenage girls in Ellesmere Port sentenced

A sex offender who exposed himself to three teenage girls in Ellesmere Port has been handed a suspended sentence.

Previously, a jury at Chester Crown Court unanimously found Thomas James Powell, 30, of Wilkinson Street, had intentionally exposed himself on two separate occasions in 2019 to vulnerable girls aged 16 or under, following a three-day trial.

Prosecuting, Ryan Rothwell had told the jury the victims in the case were a 16-year-old girl and two 14-year-old girls at the time of the offences. None of the victims can be named for legal reasons.

The court heard the 16-year-old girl did not know the 14-year-old girls, and vice versa.

One of the offences happened in May 2019, in broad daylight, as the 16-year-old girl was pushing a relative’s baby in a pram in St Andrews Road.

Powell rode towards the girl on his bike, went behind her and said: “I think you might want to see this.”

The girl turned around and saw Powell had exposed himself, and had a “weird smirk” on his face.

Giving evidence in court, the girl said she had replied with a dirty look, told him “no”, and moved away from him before contacting the police.

The second incident happened in the evening, two months later, when two girls were on their way to a fast food restaurant.

They had previously seen Powell on his bike, wearing a long coat with a fur-rimmed hood, pass by a few minutes earlier.

Powell then approached the two girls from behind, again on his bike, and exposed himself to both of them.

One of the girls later said in interview she could not understand why someone would do that to girls of their age, and felt “disgusted”.

One hour later, one of the two girls went into the Ohri Convenience Store on Bunbury Green, only to find Powell was there with his bicycle.

She told the other girl, who had been telling a woman in a takeaway shop about what had happened earlier, and all three went into the store.

CCTV footage showed the woman speaking to Powell, who rode off on his bike.

Ellesmere Port man found guilty of exposing himself to three teenage girls

AN Ellesmere Port man has been found guilty of exposing himself to three teenage girls in the town.

A jury at Chester Crown Court unanimously found Thomas James Powell, 30, of Wilkinson Street, had intentionally exposed himself on two separate occasions in 2019 to vulnerable girls aged 16 or under.

The verdict was delivered after 90 minutes deliberation at the end of a case on Wednesday, June 16, which had lasted three days before Judge Simon Berkson.

Powell will be sentenced next month, with the judge saying all options including custody remained open.

Prosecuting, Ryan Rothwell had told the jury the victims in the case were a 16-year-old girl and two 14-year-old girls at the time of the offences. None of the victims can be named for legal reasons. The court heard the 16-year-old girl did not know the 14-year-old girls, and vice versa.

One of the offences happened in May 2019, in broad daylight, as the 16-year-old girl was pushing a relative’s baby in a pram in St Andrews Road.

Powell rode towards the girl on his bike, went behind her and said: “I think you might want to see this.”

The girl turned around and saw Powell had exposed himself, and had a “weird smirk” on his face.

Giving evidence in court, the girl said she had replied with a dirty look, told him “no”, and moved away from him before contacting the police.

The second incident happened in the evening, two months later, when two girls were on their way to a fast food restaurant.

They had previously seen Powell on his bike, wearing a long coat with a fur-rimmed hood, pass by a few minutes earlier.

Powell then approached the two girls from behind, again on his bike, and exposed himself to both of them.

One of the girls later said in interview she could not understand why someone would do that to girls of their age, and felt “disgusted”.

One hour later, one of the two girls went into the Ohri Convenience Store on Bunbury Green, only to find Powell was there with his bicycle.

She told the other girl, who had been telling a woman in a takeaway shop about what had happened earlier, and all three went into the store.

CCTV footage showed the woman speaking to Powell, who rode off on his bike.

Giving evidence, Powell had claimed to defence barrister Simon Parry he was being threatened at the time, accused of “being a paedophile”, and a group of “lads” were present and threatening to steal his bicycle.

Mr Rothwell, cross-examining, said the CCTV showed no evidence of ‘lads’ being present in or outside the store.

He asked why, if threats and accusations of that sort had been made against him, Powell had not contacted the police or told anyone about it.

Powell replied there was “no point” in speaking about something he said he had not done.

All three girls subsequently positively identified the 5ft 1in Powell during an identification parade.

In interview, the girls had pointed out he was a small man with small stature, had short hair and was riding a bike. In the July incident, the girls noted he was wearing a long coat with a hood with a fur trim, despite it being a summer evening.

Following the verdict, Judge Berkson told Powell he had been convicted “on overwhelming evidence” and it was “worrying” that he appeared to be deliberately targeting vulnerable young girls.

A pre-sentence report is to be obtained and Powell is due to be sentenced at Chester Crown Court on July 9. He was bailed in the meantime but will now have to sign on the sex offenders register.