A farmer’s son who terrified two female drivers while dressed in a gimp suit in a dark country lane is linked to a total of 25 incidents, a court has heard.
Joshua Hunt, 32, has been made the subject of a sexual risk order to protect the public after being convicted of two offences of causing alarm and distress following a trial last week.
Hunt has denied being the “Somerset Gimp”. When arrested by police investigating earlier incidents last year, no further action was taken due to insufficient evidence.
At a hearing to decide on an application for a sexual risk order on Hunt at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Friday, district judge Joanna Dickens was told Hunt had been linked to a total of 25 incidents.
Mr Lawrence Wilcox, representing Avon and Somerset Police, said the majority of the incidents were “early” and based on “intelligence reports”.
He added that for the the court to grant the sexual risk order it had to be “satisfied that the intelligence of the earlier incidents were of a sexual nature and committed by the defendant”.
Mr Peter Richardson, representing Hunt, did not contest the application, but added “that is not the same as agreeing with everything in it”.
The order issued by Judge Dickens read: “It is adjudged that the defendant has done an act or series of acts of a sexual nature, as a result of which there is reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for a sexual risk order to be made in order to protect the public from harm.”
The five-year order prohibits Hunt from wearing any type of mask or face covering in a public place and wearing a black all-in-one suit in a public place between 9pm and 6am. He must also not crawl on the ground in a public place while wearing a full-body covering.
The order means Hunt is on the sex offenders’ register for the same period.
Judge Dickens added: “I am satisfied that you have done a series of acts of a serious nature. I have been informed what they are and they certainly fall within the term of the act [Sexual Offences Act Section 122a].
“They are clearly acts of a sexual nature with a sexual element to them.”
On recent press coverage of the case, she added: “Clearly this case has attacked an amount of publicity and it is important that people can go about their business and feel safe.”
Last week, Hunt, from Claverham, was convicted of two offences following a trial at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.
In the first one, Hunt was seen “crawling in a military fashion” on the floor by the terrified driver who thought it could be a possible abduction.
In the second, just after midnight the following day, a motorist saw Hunt jump to the side of her car as she drove home. “I felt sheer horror”, she said.
On arrest, Hunt had denied being the “Somerset Gimp”. Officers discovered he had been searching for stories on the incidents and had written a journal detailing a story about a character called Jack who had bought a black rubber suit.
He told the court that on the two nights, he had wanted to kill himself by being hit by a car.
“I apologise to those people – I agree what I was doing was frightening but hand on my heart, I never intended to cause them harassment, alarm or distress,” he said.
He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation to each of his three victims and £620 prosecution costs.