'The Friends of the Park committee has been notified by Telegraph Hill's Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) that a series of criminal offences have taken place recently in the Lower and Upper parks, as well as on Kitto Rd and Jerningham Rd [SE14], with a man exposing himself to both young and older women'.
Similar incidents came to light at Brockley Central in October of this year, with Siobhan reporting:
'I live on Breakspears Road in Brockley and I just want to raise awareness to anyone who lives in the area and walks home late at night. Over the last 3 months myself and my friends have experienced 3 very similar incidents of two men walking Breakspears road and exposing themselves to us. We have reported each incident to the police but I was shocked when my Landlady mentioned that it had happened to someone she knew 2 years ago'
This led to a flurry of reports of similar stories:
'I had a similar incidence on Gordonbrook Rd in Ladywell late Friday night about a year ago. The man in question was on a bicycle'.
'Happened to me and a friend too, a couple of months ago, at the bottom of Upper Brockley Road'.
'About 6 months ago a couple of friends and I were flashed twice while walking home from New Cross, about 1 or 2am I think. First on Barriedale and then, a few minutes later, on Millmark Grove'.
'A couple of months ago I was flashed at repeatedly by a man from his house on Harefield Road'.
'I've seen people flashing on Breakspears road on three different occasions, all on friday nights/saturday mornings at 3.30am approx. Its the same two guys each time. One man (looks average height, white, 30's, carrying weight on his belly) is always lying on the footpath with a hat covering his face and his trousers and underwear at his ankles (this has happened three times now and it has been at the Lewisham way side of breakspears road). There is a second guy (tall, slim, arab, 30's), once seen him totally naked with just runners and a hat on and he followed me and my friends up the road to our house and waited outside and watched us go in. Last Friday night, as it was quite cold out, he was dressed in a tracksuit, with a peaky hat covering his face but he had the whole crotch of this tracksuit bottoms cut out so he was totally exposed. He walked straight past us, didn't look at us but seem quite shifty and not very confident in what he was doing. This is not a spontaneous/in from the pub, bit tipsy looking for a laugh/practical joke. If anyone is considering walking Breakspears late at night, be in a group and prepare yourself for the flashers'.
Eastlondonlines has also reported on this:
'Megan Constable, 20, a student at Goldsmiths College, has experienced the same man exposing himself to her twice. She said: “I encountered the flasher once on Jerningham Road and again down Millmark Grove. We were walking down the road when we noticed this man laying in a front garden bollock naked with just a hat on. We were a little stunned but assumed it was just some man passed out. When we turned the corner he came running down on the opposite side of the road to us in just his hat and an anorak jacket waving his willy at us. I felt threatened and intimidated, I was also afraid to say anything in case he turned violent or had a weapon handy. I think this man is disgusting, he gets his kicks out of being an exhibitionist and intimidating young people at night'.
It wasn't until after Brockley Central broke this story that the police got round to releasing a press release about it. As reported in the Newsshopper (2 November 2011):
'Detectives are appealing for help in finding a man who has indecently exposed himself to young girls. Officers have released an e-fit of the suspect who they say has indecently exposed himself in the Ladywell and Brockley area. The first reported incident was on July 18 at around 4.30pm.
There have been further incidents with the latest on October 27 at around 5.20pm when he exposed himself to two young girls. He is described as white, between 5ft 6in and 5ft 10in, sometimes wearing a dark coloured beanie hat and carrying a dark coloured sports bag... Anyone with information should contact Lewisham CID on 0208 284 8340 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111'.
Another incident has been reported on a train from Hither Green to New Cross over the summer, as a result of which this CCTV image was released by police:
Presumably not all of these incidents involve the same man (though the pictured men look similar). Sadly there's more than one or two blokes who think this is OK.
That Joke isn't Funny Anymore
Mention of flashers usually provokes a lot of puerile Benny Hill jokes about raincoats, or even apologetics ('well they haven't actually done anything wrong', 'it's just a naked man what's the big deal?').
What's wrong is the implicit threat of sexual violence in men acting like this -'flashing' is part of a continuum of sexual aggression and if not all flashers become rapists some certainly do. Here's another account from the comments at Brockley Central:
'My friend and I were coming home on Thursday 10.11.11 and a man passed us with his genitals hanging out, he then followed us to my front door as we ran inside and he masturbated himself in the front garden'
Does that sound like a joke?
This from Twitter - 'horrible. sounds EXACTLY like the loser that flashed me and my friends on jerningham rd in june'
This in comments: 'When we were in a ground floor flat on Jerningham Road, I had a man press his genitals against the window of our front room one night, then bang on the door - something other neighbours also experienced in 2009 (we all reported it to the Met.) Very distressing experience when home alone'
[13 January 2012 - a friend informs me that there was an incident in Kitto Road at about 7 pm last night, with a man exposing himself]
[23 February 2012 - from Brockley Central today: 'I just wanted to make you aware that I was the receiver of a flasher this morning on Brockley Road, right near the Esso petrol station at about 6am. I was walking from my place up to Brockley Station'].
[15 March 2012, East London Lines: 'A 46-year-old man has been charged with three separate counts of indecent exposure in a residential area of New Cross. The Metropolitan Police have named the man as Senol Dervis Bayram, who lives in the Catford area. According to the police, all three incidents happened on Jerningham Road, with the first on December 3, 2011, and the other two in February and March of this year']