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Northern Ireland driver in drag who almost caused crash while carrying out a solo sex act avoids jail

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Dungannon Magistrates Court heard that around 5am on August 17 last year police received reports about a car with the interior light on.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard that around 5am on August 17 last year police received reports about a car with the interior light on.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard that around 5am on August 17 last year police received reports about a car with the interior light on.

A Co Tyrone man who almost caused a collision while carrying out a sex act on himself as he was driving was found dressed in women's clothes.

A request to impose a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) on Lindsay Fowler was rejected when the judge held the sexual conduct did not pose risk to others, although the manner of driving did.

Fowler (45) of Roxborough Park, Moy, admitted driving without due care and attention, as well as two counts of indecent behaviour.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard that around 5am on August 17 last year police received reports about a car with the interior light on.

The first caller said he was driving on the A4 Cabragh off-slip when the car pulled very close to his lorry. Fearing a collision, he slowed and the car moved into the overtaking lane, then pulled alongside. Looking down he saw a male with one hand on the steering wheel and the other carrying out a sex act. Because it was still dark outside the interior light made the lorry driver believe this was intentional.

A short time later a second lorry driver contacted police after becoming aware a car was following him, then repeatedly pull alongside, swerving at his vehicle. He described a "female" with long hair was performing a sexual act while driving.

Police found the car and on speaking to Fowler noted he was wearing black suspenders, stockings and high-heeled shoes.

A woman's wig was found in the passenger footwell along with a pair of elbow length gloves. Women's underwear was located in the central consul.

He was arrested and admitted the clothing belonged to him.

During interview he described leaving his home at 3am to "go for a drive to clear his head".

He denied carrying out a sexual act while overtaking, and couldn't remember wearing the wig and gloves.

Fowler also denied swerving, but could give no explanation why two independent persons claimed otherwise.

All matters were later accepted and pre-sentence reports were ordered.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court a SOPO was specifically requested, but the necessity for this was disputed.

The defence argued: "The terms of the SOPO are intrusive … I do not feel it is appropriate in this case."

Judge Ranaghan said: "While there was risk of some harm by the nature of the driving, I don't think in relation to sexual harm, that is met. In short, I'll not be imposing a SOPO."

The defence contended Fowler had led an isolated life that "perhaps contributed to the offending behaviour".

While the judge believed the custody threshold was breached, he decided on an 18-month probation order tailored to address Fowler's behaviour.

Fines of £300 and a three-month driving ban were imposed.

Judge Ranaghan said: "Two drivers who witnessed these acts were at risk of some harm."

Before concluding, the judge warned Fowler: "If you do not comply with probation you will spend time in prison."

Belfast Telegraph