Four men go on trial accused of outraging public decency at Holkham beach

Court news
Court news

Four men have gone on trial accused of outraging public decency at a West Norfolk beauty spot.

A jury has heard the men admit taking part in sexual activity on Holkham beach last summer, but maintain they were not visible to other members of the public.

Mark Godfrey, 54, and Steven Hunt, 32, both of Corbyn Shaw Road, Lynn, deny a single charge of outraging public decency by taking part in sexual activity on August 2 last year.

They are jointly accused alongside Richard Hook, 50, and Daniel Smithson, 47, both of Alma Terrace, Norwich.

Opening his case at Norwich Crown Court this morning, prosecution barrister Philip Farr said the fact all the defendants were men, and the nature of what they were doing, were not the crucial issues in the case.

He told the jury of six men and six women: “If this was a private act between consenting adults, there is no offence.

“But if you are satisfied so you are sure that these acts were seen by one person and were capable of being seen by at least one other person, then we say it becomes a public act and, by its nature, outrages public decency.”

“This is not a question of sexual preferences. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man and a woman, a 16-year-old boy and girl or an octogenarian couple.”

Andrew Bloomfield, a warden for the Holkham estate, which owns the beach, then told the jury he had been around 20 yards away when he first saw two of the men making “rhythmic arm movements” and became suspicious about what they were doing.

He saw the other two men as he moved closer. A windbreak had also been put up around them.

The court heard that, on seeing all four defendants, Mr Bloomfield told them they would have to stop what they were doing and he was calling the police.

One of them is said to have replied: “We’re not offending anybody. Nobody can see.” Mr Bloomfield responded: “I can.”

And Hugh Vass, defending Godfrey, suggested he said that because there was no-one else near the area at the time.

But Mr Bloomfield said he had seen eight other people in the area, excluding the defendants, as he approached them.

He claimed that at least two would have been clearly able to see the men from where they were , while it would only have taken other visitors a short time to walk to the site.

The trial continues.