Sex pest to be sentenced by judge

Seaton man to be sentenced at Exeter Crown Court after assaulting a 14-year-old girl and five women.

A Seaton man who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl and five women in the resort was told by magistrates the offences were “so serious” that greater sentencing powers were needed.

Matthew Benjamin Hampton, of The Avenue, pleaded guilty to six sexual offences, which occurred between June 4 and 19, and was last Thursday committed by Central Devon Magistrates’ Court to Exeter Crown Court for sentencing.

The chairman of the bench, Edwina Bradshaw, told him: “These offences are so serious and need greater punishment than we can give you.”

Karen Ball, prosecuting, said the 29-year-old was involved in a number of offences in Seaton.

The first occurred at 11am on June 5 and involved a 14-year-old shop assistant who was touched on the bottom and breast by the defendant who was looking at cameras in the shop.

On June 13 Hampton touched another woman on the bottom multiple times in a charity shop and, on a separate occasion, touched a woman who was making a phone call outside a hairdressing salon.

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Following this, Miss Ball told the court, Hampton went into a salon and touched a female hairdresser on the leg whilst she was cutting his hair and touched her vaginal area.

She said the victim described feeling “extremely uncomfortable” and tried to move herself away from Hampton.

During this encounter, the defendant had said he worked in a hotel, which assisted police in making an arrest.

The court heard that a fingerprint was also found on a camera box left in one of the shops.

A further incident occurred on June 4 when the defendant entered a shop in the resort, making inquiries about lamps. While being served, Hampton touched the shop worker on the bottom.

Miss Ball explained two more victims came forward following a police appeal in a local newspaper.

One of the victims was touched on the bottom by Hampton in a pet shop on June 14 and had initially thought it was an accident as the defendant brushed past her. However, Miss Ball said he continued to “stroke and tickle” the victim’s bottom before leaving the shop.

Miss Ball added: “This particular lady was too scared to look directly at him (Hampton).”

The final incident occurred on June 11 when a woman, who was with a friend at the time, was touched on the bottom by the defendant when out shopping.

When she went to pay for goods, the defendant followed her and touched her bottom and crotch area. She challenged Hampton, who just looked at her.

Miss Ball said, when the 29-year-old was interviewed by police on a second occasion, he admitted touching the women and said he did not get sexual gratification and it was a form of “courtship interaction”.

Defending, Warren Robinson said Hampton had no record of similar offences.

The defendant was remanded on conditional bail until September 13.

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