Driver jailed for outraging decency


A diving instructor who repeatedly drove semi-naked past four schoolgirls has been jailed for 24 weeks.

Wakefield and Pontefract Magistrates’ Court heard how the four girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were walking in Pontefract last December when they became aware of a Rover vehicle, which passed them at least four times.

The driver was not wearing trousers or underwear.

The driver, Andrew Hewes, 51, of Larks Hill, Pontefract, was identified partly through a large car sticker on his vehicle promoting a diving school.

He was convicted last month of outraging public decency following a trial.

Dan Smith, mitigating, said his client had no relevant previous convictions, had been married for 32 years and had worked in the Navy, the Home Office and as an engineer. He was also a volunteer diving instructor.

The court heard although Hewes had denied the offence to the police and his family he now accepted his guilt.

Mr Smith said: “His sense of guilt is overwhelming. He knew he was in the wrong. He knew there was a possibility he could be seen.”

The solicitor added: “He is sorry to the girls. Perhaps they can take some confidence from the point he has accepted his responsibility.”

But he added: “He now has to face his family,friends and employer and the stigma of the offence.”

District Judge Adrian Lower, referring to Hewes’ interview with a probation officer, said: “You decided to stop, pull down your underwear and trousers and got back in your car and drove further.

“ You described to the probation officer how this gave you a buzz.”

He added: “There was clearly an element of planning in what you did. The offence has obvious sexual overtones and motivation behind it.”

The judge said: “The four girls who saw what you did in December last year had to relive that experience by giving evidence at trial.

“The punishment is going to be greater than if you had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”

He said he had a duty to protect the public and to send out a strong message by a fitting punishment of custody.

The judge added: “I can’t suspend it. It was a serious matter involving four members of the public of school age. There was repetition and planning.”

After sentence Mr Smith lodged a notice of appeal against sentence but Judge Lower said Hewes would remain in custody pending an appeal at Leeds Crown Court.