1:00pm Sunday 2nd June 2013
By Bruce Unwin
A MAN who was seen committing a sex act on himself in a car park alongside a fast food restaurant has been jailed for a year.
The actions of James Hardy, in broad daylight outside a KFC outlet at St Helen Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, shocked customers and staff alike.
Durham Crown Court heard that the witnesses included a family of three in a car in the drive-through part of the restaurant, at 5.15pm on August 15 last year.
As they were paying for their takeaway at the hatch they could clearly see Hardy standing next to a stationary BMW car, performing the act.
Adrian Dent, prosecuting, said: “It went on for several seconds and, contrary to what the defendant was to say, there was no indication that he was urinating.
“They were disgusted at what they could see.
“The woman in the front seat of the car became hysterical, worried that her nine-year-old daughter, sitting behind her, could see what was taking place.
“She shouted for her daughter to cover her eyes and reported what was happening at the kiosk.”
Mr Gillette said the manager and an assistant at the branch, both female, also saw what Hardy was doing.
He was arrested at his home address two days later.
Hardy told police he had picked up two friends and was “caught short” as he was driving near the takeaway.
As he could not wait to use the toilets on the premises he relieved himself at the back of the car, and believes the witnesses mistook his action.
He repeated the account in giving evidence at his trial at the court, saying he had just been to pick up some skunk cannabis, some of which he had consumed, along with some alcohol.
Hardy, 39, of Alfred Place, Newton Aycliffe, denied doing an act outraging public decency.
But on the second day of the trial the jury returned a unanimous ‘guilty’ verdict.
Jailing him, Judge Peter Kelson told Hardy: “Your offending was not funny or light-hearted.
"It was very serious and deeply unsettling to the witnesses, whose evidence was clear.
“Your warped and intoxicated sexual perversion somehow has to be explained to a nine-year-old girl.
“It takes away all innocence, upsetting her family and also shocking the staff at the premises.
“It was perverted and utterly disgusting.”
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group