Robert Oakley jailed for exposing himself to women in Fordingbridge woodland
A FORMER film studio worker who exposed himself to two women in secluded woodland near Fordingbridge has been jailed for six months.
Robert Oakley (51), was lambasted by Judge Gary Burrell who said he had left one of the victims in particular, very "frightened and distressed".
Prosecutor Siobhan Linsley outlined how Oakley committed two offences four days apart at Copse Deane, at the end of Frog Lane in the village, in January 2020.
She added one of the victims believed she was being followed by Oakley, and panicked and tried to contact Hampshire police, before phoning her father-in-law to contact the force.
Oakley denied two charges of indecent exposure and stood trial at Southampton Crown Court, with a jury finding him guilty of both counts.
Judge Burrell noted his pleas had forced the two victims – who cannot be named for legal reasons – to give evidence at court. "There was one victim who was quite robust about it, but the other one was clearly frightened and distressed by your behaviour," he added.
The judge also highlighted Oakley had historic offences of a similar nature on his record, and in an interview with probation had continued to protest his innocence in spite of "overwhelming evidence" presented against him at trial.
He added that at trial the defendant came across as "belligerent and arrogant".
Defence solicitor Gaylene Coles said her client had a "traumatic" upbringing and youth. He initially worked in the props department of a film studio when younger before falling into alcoholism – an addiction he now had under control.
Mrs Coles said he was willing to undergo therapy and counselling to help him address issues, and outlined he has a "special friendship" with a woman for whom he helps care.
She declined to argue against the judge's suggestion Oakley may have been unwilling to confront his own guilt over the offending because he did not want his friend to think less of him. "He does fear losing the only friend that he has," she said.
"That was of greater risk to him than potentially facing up to the reality of the situation in court."
Judge Burrell pointed out that probation assessed Oakley of having a "statistical medium risk of further sexual offending", adding some who committed such offences could go on to commit contact offences, although he stressed he was not suggesting that would happen with Oakley.
But he said the continued protestation of innocence by Oakley, of Lyon Street, Southampton, meant a custody term was inevitable.
Following the sentencing, PC Sarah Taylor of the Fordingbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “In imposing a custodial sentence, the court has acknowledged the severity of the offences, the impact on the victims and the community as a whole. I want to thank those who felt able to speak to police about the incidents, for coming forward and playing a vital role in securing the conviction.
“His actions placed the women in a situation where they felt frightened and disempowered. No one should be made to feel this way and we hope that this sentence provides some closure to the victims and the community.”