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To assume that this man was a sex offender

(223 Posts)
blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 00:49:45

wondering whether or not i responded fairly to this guy today...

took my two girlies (4 and 1.5) to local canal avec swans/duck etc and on way back along path this man on a bike spotted us and stopped right beside us as we fed the swans. no-one else around

he looks a bit of an unlikely cyclist in the first place and he seems a bit agitated, albeit in a friendly way. VERY keen to strike up a conversation. After 10 seconds or so he got off his bike and stood quite near to us, talking about the swans in an extremely animated manner.

something about him really spooked me. it was a combination of the way he seemed very focussed on us, intent on talking to us, was extremely excited, talking really quickly and i suppose his appearance.

i decided to trust my instinct and get out of there asap, pulling my eldest up a muddy verge to get to the roadside. we crossed the bridge and i glanced down to the canal to see him kind of fiddling with his crotch... nothing exposed but definately fumbling in that area.

i was really shaken up by this but talking to my DH about it i'm wondering did i read this situation fairly? i'm wondering if i should report him to the police but then, what for? he didn't really do anything solidly illegal. verrrrrry creepy though.

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 00:51:00

lookED an unlikely cyclit and SEEMED a bit agitated. got me tenses all confuzzled...

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 00:51:31

cyclit???? i'm making a bad situation worse aren't i?

hambler Wed 19-Aug-09 00:56:18

I don't think you can conclude he was a sex offender.

However he gave you the creeps so you were right to get out of there quickly

BitOfFun Wed 19-Aug-09 00:56:48

I would mention it to the cops- your instinct is there for a reason, and good for you,you listened to it. They won't do much, but it might be on file and come in handy if this guy turns out to bother somebody else. There are lots of cases of very dodgy crimes where it turns out there was a period of "lead up", and your information might be crucial if that ends up happening.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 19-Aug-09 00:57:36

Ok, calm down, I get your point.

Is it possible he had some sort of learning difficulties? (I'm thinking something that involves obsessional behaviour, because of the swans.)

Yer actual Evil Predator is usually a bit more subtle than that.

Quattrocento Wed 19-Aug-09 00:58:39

Gosh that's a bit of a leap, isn't it? He could have had all sorts of different mental health issues, he could have been socially gauche, he could have started a keep fit drive but be out of puff ... And he could have been pulling his flies up or (believing himself to be unobserved) have been adjusting his cycling shorts

BitOfFun Wed 19-Aug-09 01:01:25

Who knows? No harm done, but if you are a sentient being and feel the alarm bells going, then fair enough, flag it up. If all is well, no problem, but you might just turn out to have a piece of a jigsaw puzzle...

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 01:04:33

i suppose he could have had behavioural problems and also could have been checking his flies.

very tricky.

his behaviour did remind me of someone who flashed at me on a busy street when i was a teenager... there was something very excited yet furtive about the way he was acting. hard to describe but it was odd enough to make me scramble up a hill so i don;t think i imagined it.

i feel guilty for not reporting the flasher when i was younger which is maybe why i'm wondering whether i should report this guy.

i just wouldn't want to label someone who is innocent. chances are they'd just make a note of it and that's that though, i suppose.

i think having the children with me freaked me out even more...

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 19-Aug-09 01:06:40

YAB a bit U, but I'd be more likely to think of it as erring on the side of caution. He sounds maybe "a bit simple" as the phrase used to be <awaits flames for non-PC expression>. If it had happened in a busy street he might not have set your radar off, but in an isolated spot like a canal I know I tend to be a bit more wary of strangers. As for the fiddling with his crotch - could have an innocent explanation, maybe just an itch and he was unaware of being observed/unaware of proper behaviour in public.

If he was an "unlikely cyclist" he may have had to 'rearrange' himself on getting off the bike.

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 01:07:28

he was in no way out of puff though quatro- he saw us and stopped with the intent on talking to us. it was very obvious.

best case scenario, he was a friendly goonish type who has no sense of boundaries.

it felt like he was about to DO something.

it's freaked me out a bit and put me off taking the kids to secluded places on my own.

TheLadyEvenstar Wed 19-Aug-09 01:09:31

Ohh Blinks I know how you feel. Last week we went out up and around london. Mum, dc, and I were standing there, although mum slightly away from us as we had our dog with us. And this elderly perv man was stood next to me with his camera...for some reason i did an about turn and he said to me..."don't worry I am taking photos of these 3 boys" 2 of them being my dc. I replied "not these 2 you aren't and dragged poor ds1 out of there asap, ds2 was in his buggy so easily moved.

I did find an officer (was watching changing of guards so few around) and told him but the perv man was gone.

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 01:13:07

how bizarre, TLES... could he have been a photographer?

Silver1 Wed 19-Aug-09 01:18:25

Please do mention it to the police- if there are a number of incidents that culminate they find this sort of information useful.
If there is a reason to be concerned they may well know and do something.
If you have just bumped into the David Attenborough of your area and he had crabs they'll tell you!

TheLadyEvenstar Wed 19-Aug-09 01:22:56

Blinks he may have been but he was about 90000 years old and spooked me out....my dc are like me so he could have asked first....would have had same outcome mind lol.

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 01:24:43

that is odd.

good for you to intervene and tell him to sod off.

SOLOisMeredithGrey Wed 19-Aug-09 01:25:22

Perhaps he is slightly of the learning difficulty group? He may have been excited to be near you, but only in a child like manner? I think I'd leave off reporting him tbh, and I'm the most suspicious woman on the Earth!

blinks Wed 19-Aug-09 01:26:13

well i am hugely exciting i suppose

TheLadyEvenstar Wed 19-Aug-09 01:31:26

lol blinks....now remember you must not go out topless again or you will attract attention!

CarmenSanDiego Wed 19-Aug-09 01:55:54

YANBU to trust your instincts and get away from him.

But this being mumsnet, YABU to assume anything wink

Ozziegirly Wed 19-Aug-09 02:57:10

I watched an Oprah hmm a while ago about how our reserve can sometimes put us into really dangerous situations, and how it is really important to trust our instincts, even if it makes us seem a bit rude - so getting out of a lift if someone seems dodgy, that kind of thing.

So I don't think you were wrong to act on your instinct AT ALL. But I would hesitate over reporting him as he didn't actually do anything wrong, and people are allowed to be weird without fear of arrest for it.

Tricky.

seeker Wed 19-Aug-09 07:29:09

Not U at all to be uncomfortable and wary and to follow your instincts to get out of there asap.

U to assume sex offender. And definitely U to report him to the police.It's naive to say that it will do him no harm to be on the police's radar if he has done nothing wrong.

HaventAClueWhatToDo Wed 19-Aug-09 07:40:11

Ozzie i was going to bring up the same programme grin

It basically said that instinct is something we should not ignore, and that socially we are told to ignore it for fear of being rude.

eg man starts convo and your 'feel' its not right but he's not said or done anything to suggest it.

It also said that in lots of cases where something has happened people have reported this feeling before hand and wished they'd listened to it.

So no you were not wrong I would ahve done exactly the same.

As for reporting to the police, personally I probably would have. Whats the worst they are going to do, think your over reacting? So what, you know you did what YOU thought was best.

racmac Wed 19-Aug-09 07:47:22

Can you not mention it to the local community officers? That way you have made them aware but not officially reported it.

seeker Wed 19-Aug-09 08:07:53

"As for reporting to the police, personally I probably would have. Whats the worst they are going to do, think your over reacting? So what, you know you did what YOU thought was best."

The worst they are going to do?

Harass some harmless slightly socially inept cyclist every time there is a report of someone acting strangely. And potentially criminalize a person with some sort of learning difficulties for chatting to a family feeding the swans.

That's the worst that they could do.

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