Child sex offender's crimes 'stuff of nightmares'

"IT'S the very conduct that we warn our children about. Behaviour which every parent fears may happen one day."

An Ipswich judge has told a middle-aged serial flasher that his behaviour is the stuff of nightmates for parents everywhere.

The man, who pulled out his penis in front of children in a playground and masturbated, has been convicted more than 20 times previously on similar offences.

After a jury found him guilty of exposing children to indecent acts at a Gatton park, the Ipswich District Court heard that Richard Brian Campbell, 51, had been offending for more than 25 years.

At his trial Campbell pleaded not guilty to wilfully committing an indecent act in public at Gatton on December 11, 2015; two counts of exposing a child under 12 to an indecent act; and exposing a child under 16 to an indecent act.

He pleaded guilty to urinating in a public place.

At his sentence hearing this week, Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso said Campbell had been found guilty of 21 similar offences since 1991, of which four incidents involved children.

One case took place outside school grounds but none of the children had been aged as young as in the Gatton offence, where three girls were aged 12, 8 and 9 at the time.

Campbell had first urinated, then took out his penis three times afterwards and masturbated.

His offending was also witnessed by three adults nearby.

Ms Kelso said the girls were too young to know the severity of what was going on. They had been alone in the children's playground at the time.

The Crown sought 15-month jail term to reflect the fact that he'd been convicted after a trial.

Defence barrister Scott Neaves conceded Campbell's past history of wilful public exposure offences.

A psychological report outlined his issues in its assessment, and that he may behave in such a way as a coping mechanism when stressed and suffering anxiety and depression.

The report suggested that through ongoing counselling, there was some hope he could abstain from such behaviour.

At his two-day trial in January, one child gave evidence about seeing a man holding his "rude parts" after he'd pulled his pants down.

And one child said "yuck", that he first showed his thing at us and walked off, then did it again.

A report before the court said the children were still disturbed by it.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said Campbell's first conviction for wilful exposure in public was 26 years ago and there had been numerous offences since, including four for public indecency.

"It's the very conduct that we warn our children about. Behaviour which every parent fears may happen one day," he said.

"It's abhorrent."

Judge Horneman-Wren said Campbell had been convicted of similar conduct on many occasions, and given lenient sentences in which to access supervision and treatment.

However, he now seemed motivated to continue psychological intervention and counselling.

Campbell was sentenced to 15 months jail, suspended for three years after he serves seven months.

On release he will be subject to two years of supervised probation.