A flasher who exposed himself to almost 40 schoolgirls in and around Preston Park was finally caught thanks to the father of one of his victims.
Edward Kent exposed himself to 38 girls aged between 12 and 17 from July 2016 until he was finally arrested in the park on January 15 last year.
By then, plain clothes officers were patrolling the park and they observed Kent approaching two schoolgirls and pursued him.
But while he fled, one of the girl’s fathers stepped in and helped detain him.
Kent later admitted 16 charges of indecent exposure and was last week sentenced at Brighton Crown Court.
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, 27 of The Drove pleaded guilty to 16 counts of exposure at Brighton Magistrates Court on 17 January this year, and spent the following two months on remand in prison awaiting sentence.
Last Friday, he appeared at Brighton Crown Court where he 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.
Recorder James Dawson gave him community order, requiring him to complete a Sex Offender Treatment Program plus 150 hours of unpaid work. Kent will also be under an electronically monitored curfew between 7pm and 6am.
In addition he is now 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.