Ex-officer who exposed himself in Belfast Homebase in front of children spared jail
A former policeman who exposed himself and touched his private parts in front of a woman and her two young daughters in a busy Belfast store has been spared jail.
John Douglas Stanfield, who turns 84 next month, has an extensive criminal record for similar offences.
He was in breach of a prior Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) when he was seen rubbing his genitals in Homebase last summer.
Belfast Crown Court heard Stanfield's latest offending - committing an act outraging public decency in the Galwally branch of the store - was "deliberately" carried out in front of two girls aged seven and eight.
The incident occurred last June, and was reported a few months later after the woman saw reports in the media about Stanfield's previous offending.
The pensioner, from Rosetta Road in Belfast, was handed an 18-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, by Judge David McFarland.
Prior to passing sentence, Judge McFarland was told that when the woman reported the matter to police, she said she believed Stanfield was rubbing his genitals deliberately in front of her children, rather than doing it in an absent-minded manner.
When he was arrested in November 2016 and asked about the incident in Homebase, Stanfield said he couldn't remember.
When an officer pointed out that the allegation made by the woman matched the type of behaviour he indulged in, and when asked if he could have committed the offence, he said: "I probably did."
A barrister representing Stanfield said that while his elderly client couldn't remember the incident, he had pleaded guilty.
Telling the court there was now a "realisation" by Stanfield that "he has an issue", the barrister said he has started attending church.
Defence counsel also revealed Stanfield suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of things he witnessed whilst employed as an RUC reservist.
The barrister asked that Stanfield be spared jail due to his advancing years, health difficulties and the fact he is a carer for his wife.
Judge McFarland noted Stanfield has "numerous convictions for this type of activity", and pointed out the pensioner both breached bail and the terms of his SOPO by offending last June.
Saying he was taking into consideration the pensioner's age and his responsibilities to his wife, Judge McFarland handed Stanfield a suspended sentence.
Belfast Telegraph Digital