Man who exposed himself to almost 40 girls in Brighton is sentenced

Sussex Police said a man who exposed himself to girls in the Preston Park area was handed a community order, put on the sex offender register and is banned from entering parks in the city for five years.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 3:33 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 4:36 pm
Brighton Magistrates Court

Police said 38 girls aged between 12 and 17 were targeted on their walk home from school by Edward Kent who exposed himself to them in a string of incidents over two-and-a-half years.

Kent, 27, of The Drove, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of exposure in and around Preston Park between July 2016 and January 2019.

He also asked for five similar offences to be taken into consideration, three further counts of exposure and two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, police said.

He appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court for sentencing on Friday (March 15).

Kent was arrested when police were conducting a plain clothes patrol in Preston Park on Tuesday, January 15, a few days after the latest incident.

Sussex Police said Kent was observed approaching two schoolgirls and was pursued by an officer. During the pursuit, he was stopped and detained by a member of public.

Investigator Rose Horan said: “All the girls involved are to be commended for their maturity, their help and their support. They reported what had happened to them quickly, either to police or their parents. They gave accurate, consistent accounts and descriptions, and some provided maps, sketches and photographic evidence, all of which was key to stopping this offender.

“All in all, it was a real community effort, with the father of one of the schoolgirls intercepting Kent and helping to detain him on the day of his arrest as he was being pursued on foot by a plain-clothed officer.

“Kent’s behaviour has had a marked impact, particularly on some of the younger girls, causing them to avoid the park, a place where children should feel safe. Some victims were approached by Kent while they walked alone and some were followed causing them to feel high levels of anxiety. I hope the sentence can help reassure these victims and they can begin to put this behind them.”

Kent was sentenced to a community order, was placed on the sex offender register, and is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning him from entering parks in Brighton and Hove for five years.

He has been in custody awaiting sentencing since January 17, police said.

The judge ordered Kent to complete a Sex Offender Treatment Program plus 150 hours of unpaid work, and he will be under an electronically monitored curfew between 7pm and 6am.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Kent carefully targeted his victims for his disgusting crimes, which must have been truly terrifying for the young girls involved.

“We hope the treatment programme Kent must attend will minimise any further risk he poses in the future.

“Adults concerned about a child can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. If children have any worries or concerns they can speak to Childline on 0800 1111.”