Man, 32, found guilty after scaring female motorists in Somerset while dressed in gimp suit
A 32-year-old man has been found guilty after scaring female motorists while dressed in all-black gimp suit.
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A self-employed gardener has been found guilty of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress to two female motorists while dressed in an all-black gimp suit. Joshua Hunt, 32, was found guilty by a district judge of two offences under the Public Order Act following a trial at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.
He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation to each of his three victims and £620 prosecution costs. The court heard female motorists were left terrified – with one fearing they might be abducted – after seeing Hunt in his black skin-tight outfit.
District Judge Joanna Dickens said she accepted Hunt had already spent a month on remand in prison prior to his trial and that was bigger punishment than any sentence she could impose.
“I accept that you have already received punishment and spent time in prison and lost your good character in a very public way and no doubt affecting you for the remainder of your life,” she said.
Hunt was seen by one lone female driver to be writhing around on the ground while another was left shaking and crying by the alleged incident. Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard the incidents took place in the evening of May 7 and shortly after midnight on May 9 this year in Bleadon, near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
When Hunt was arrested minutes after the second incident, he told police: “I am not a gimp – I do not own a gimp suit. I am not in a gimp suit.” He also denied the two offences.
In a written statement, motorist Lucy Lodge said she was driving home along Accommodation Road in Bleadon when she saw something moving on the ground. She said: “He was writhing and crawling as if in a military fashion. I could see the person was wearing very tight, dark clothing and had a mask on their face. The mask was dark and very tight and two white crosses where the eyes should be.
“My first thought was it could be a possible abduction and the person was trying to get me out of my car. It was terrifying although I had only seen them for a few seconds.
“He was dressed all in black with a shiny, black facemask with white crosses on. They were face down in a military fashion and writhing and crawling on their belly.”
She added: “The whole incident felt so surreal, and I was questioning myself about what I was seeing and making this statement makes me feel anxious. I genuinely believed it was an abduction because you read about this in the newspapers. When I got home I was breathing heavily and I was having a borderline panic attack.
“I had never seen anything like this before. I feel scared and I never want to see this thing again due to the fright it gave me. I didn’t sleep more than three hours that night.”
Martin Mills, a passenger in a vehicle driving in the area at the same time as Miss Lodge, saw a man “commando crawling” on the floor. He said: “I can see they were all in black and shiny and the car lights were reflecting off him.
'I was shaking and crying'
Just 24 hours later – shortly after midnight on May 9 – Samantha Brown was driving from work with her sister-in-law and another colleague when she saw a man dressed all in black with a face mask.
She said in a statement: “When I saw them my sister-in-law screamed. I had to speed up to get past them and he jumped to the side of my car. When I saw the person I felt sheer horror. When I got home I was shaking and crying.
"I was scared by this person – anything could have happened and they had their hands behind their back and they could have been holding anything.”
Ms Brown’s sister-in-law, Chloe Smith, also saw the man and said: “I was scared by what he was doing because it was dark and they were dressed like that.”
The teenager in the car said when he saw the man he grabbed the door handle in case he tried to open the door. He said: “I was angry that he scared Samantha and Chloe.
Following reports of the second incident, police went to Bleadon and spotted a white Berlingo van in a field which was reversing and decided to stop it. Pc Declan Coppock spoke to the defendant, who was wearing grey trousers and a black hooded top, and arrested him – with Hunt telling him he was not a gimp.
“I noticed his skin was extremely wet and damp – suggesting he had been lying on the side of the road,” the officer said. Hunt told him: “I am not dangerous, I am a normal person, I have got a few problems.”