A FLASHER who exposed himself to an eight-year-old schoolgirl in a popular Appleton pub has avoided an immediate jail term.

Phillip Boardman, of Hazelwood Mews, Grappenhall, was handed a 17-week suspended sentence at Warrington Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to exposure.

The court heard how the 38-year-old had been drinking when the incident unfolded at the London Bridge Inn.

Anouska Youds, prosecuting, said: “At 5pm on January 23, the victim and her parents were in the pub when they noticed the defendant staring at their table.

“They described his behaviour as strange as he continued to stare at the family.

“While the victim’s mum stood up and talked to a friend at the bar, the girl went into the female toilets alone and Boardman followed.”

The young girl panicked when she noticed the man and tried to lock herself in the cubicle, the court heard.

When she was unable to lock the door, she opened it to find Boardman stood with his trousers around his thighs, indecently exposing himself.

Boardman, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time, repeatedly said ‘I’m sorry, I’m drunk’ to the young girl.

Colin Rawson, defending, said: “My client has learning difficulties and suffers from extreme anxiety for which he attends regular therapy sessions.

“After a few drinks he had let his guard down.”

Phillip Boardman was sentenced at Warrington Magistrates’ Court last Thursday, April 12, where he was ordered to pay £200 in fines and attend a rehabilitation activity for 30 days.

The panel of magistrates, chaired by Mrs Geddis, said: "There was raised harm and raised culpability by specifically targeting a vulnerable victim.

"There are some aggravating features with the offence being committed in a public house and at the time of 5pm.

"But you have shown remorse and have no previous convictions."

Boardman will remain on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.