Flashing can be at best disconcerting, at worst terrifying…but it’s never a joke

RADIO DJ Emma B claims she was flashed by Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens back in 2008 but police “laughed” when she reported it.

Emma, whose surname is Wilson, was pushing her baby son’s pram in Greenwich, South East London, when a man shouted “Hey!” at her.

When she turned round, he had his trousers down and was exposing himself.

She called 999 but says the police officers, “laughed when I was describing the graphic bits and what he was doing — they thought that bit was particularly funny”.

Metropolitan Police are now investigating the incident.

These particular officers aside, there are plenty of others who regard flashing — or public indecency — as funny.

But for those subjected to it, it is anything but.

And in the case of Wayne Couzens — who we know committed indecent exposure in 2015 and again just days before he murdered Sarah — it can prove a gateway crime to something far more serious.

According to those who treat them, over time flashers may branch out into more serious contact sex crimes, including rape, and are also likely to become involved in crimes against children.

Recently, the Nextdoor message board in my area of South London was preoccupied with the sighting of a middle-aged man pleasuring himself in full view of a children’s playground.

Another post mentioned seeing a man doing the same thing in front of a nursery poster.

The responses — citing other incidents in the area involving different men — show that the problem is widespread but also, reassuringly, that the police response was swift and sensitive, though an arrest still hasn’t been made.

But for others, like a friend of mine who recently reported a neighbour exposing himself in the window when her teenage daughter walks past, the response is less reassuring.

She said the police seemed uninterested and told her nothing could be done because he’s in his own home.

And when she produced a photo as evidence, they refused to look at it, saying she had committed the offence of voyeurism by taking her neighbour’s picture.


Then there’s the relatively new scourge of “cyber-flashing”, where a man will use AirDrop at, say, a crowded train station to send a photo of his penis to a passing stranger.

A report by the University of Leicester says 33 per cent of women questioned had been cyber-flashed yet the law hasn’t caught up and it is not currently classed as a criminal offence.

Little wonder that many women who are flashed or cyber-flashed don’t bother reporting it.

This has to change because, for a woman alone, it can be at best disconcerting, at worst terrifying.

And perpetrators mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.

Met boss Cressida Dick says she will do everything in her power to improve safety for women on our streets.

Seriously clamping down on flashers would be a good start.

Everyone must resist the urge to snigger, and report them immediately, so that footage from nearby CCTV cameras can be trawled for evidence to prosecute.

Holden a sec, dress is a miss

FASHIONISTAS are apparently going dotty for this LK Bennett dress.

Yours, Madam, for – gulp – a mere £350.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s wife Laura wore it to the Tory party conference last week and TV presenter Amanda Holden has been, er, spotted in it too.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge could look phenomenal in a bin bag but this supposed “It” dress suggests she’s arriving to take dictation at a building society AGM.

I’m afraid it’s a no from me.

What a waste of time

FRENCH police are reanalysing the killings of the Surrey-based al-Hilli family, who were murdered almost a decade ago while on holiday in the Alps.

It was initially thought the family were the intended target of the killer and that passing cyclist Sylvain Mollier was also shot dead because he witnessed the attack.

But police now believe it could be the other way round.

At the weekend, British cyclist Brett Martin told The Sun how, in 2012, he came across the bodies just a few minutes after a motorcyclist had slowed down to look at him closely before then speeding off.

“I could have been the fifth victim,” he says.

I don’t claim to be Mystic Moore but given Mr Martin gave this same evidence to French police at the time of the killings, why didn’t they consider then that it was a specific cyclist (i.e. Mr Mollier) the hitman was clearly looking for – and not businessman Saad al-Hilli and his family?

Instead, they’ve potentially wasted nine years of valuable investigation time.

A crash course

E-SCOOTERS are currently undergoing limited trials in public places.

But a Government source has revealed that legislation allowing them on the roads is “definitely going to happen by next year, no question”.

Begging the question: Why?

After all, what are the benefits?

Only the other day, my elderly mother was nearly knocked off her feet by someone riding one of these blasted machines at high speed along the pavement.

And all too many weave their way precariously through traffic too.

Data for the past year shows they have caused eight deaths and 51 serious injuries, plus they provide no exercise whatsoever.

In fact, the only benefit is for the companies flogging them at upwards of £300.

Gone public

SHERLOCK star Amanda Abbington has gone public with her new boyfriend, stuntman Jonathan Goodwin.

“I’m completely besotted,” she said, after sharing the above photo of them on a weekend break to Vienna.

Amanda, 47, has two children with actor Martin Freeman, with whom she spent 16 years, and recently I observed them both at a party.

Martin was with his new girlfriend, Rachel Mariam, but the three of them were getting on like a house on fire and the platonic affection between Amanda and her ex was obvious.

When so many splits are riven with acrimony and awkwardness for any children involved, it’s nice to see a couple managing to move on while maintaining such fondness and mutual respect.


ARMED French police boarded a Eurostar train bound for London and arrested a British passenger for wearing “the wrong type of mask”.

Apparently there were at least eight officers.

Cripes. Still, when he eventually made it to St Pancras International and perhaps hopped on the Tube, he need have harboured no such fear of the rules laid down by London Mayor Sadiq Khan back in the capital.

I travel by Tube a lot and would say that around 50 per cent of passengers no longer wear a mask – not even one dangling below their chin.

And when I got off at Charing Cross the other day, there were at least three members of staff who weren’t wearing them either.

Irony of Amazon

AMAZON has opened its first store in the UK.

The shop, at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, is the start of the internet giant’s plans to ramp up its expansion into physical outlets.

Probably occupying the spaces left by many of the physical outlets it forced out of business by undercutting them.

Oh, the irony.

Wearing rubbish

KERRY KATONA is currently wearing the contents of her dustbin for forthcoming TV show Celebrity Trash Monsters.

It seems Alan Partridge’s “Monkey Tennis” is no longer ludicrous enough to be considered satirical.

Can't cancel facts

A NEW report by the thinktank More In Common shows a third of young people believe that those who disagree with them on politics must be factually wrong.

The report, based on analysis of 10,000 people in the year from February 2020, concluded that young people weren’t being taught enough about the respect for others’ opinions at school and university.

Hence the “cancel culture” that seeks to suppress any viewpoint that doesn’t match someone’s perceived wisdom.

So all credit to Professor Adam Tickell, vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex, for saying he won’t tolerate threats to academic freedoms after students tried to remove philosophy professor Kathleen Stock OBE for saying she believes gender identity is not more important than facts about biological sex.

Professor Stock tweeted: “What kind of a future does a university have where intimidation determines what is said or taught?”

Answer: A bleak one.

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