Man exposed himself outside hotel

Peter WalshA homeless man who exposed himself outside a city hotel so he could be jailed and get a roof over his head said he was 'embarrassed' by his behaviour but was forced into the lewd act as he had 'no choice'.Peter Walsh

A homeless man who exposed himself outside a city hotel so he could be jailed and get a roof over his head said he was 'embarrassed' by his behaviour but was forced into the lewd act as he had 'no choice'.

John Golden, 48, of no fixed abode, appeared before Norwich Magistrates Court yesterdayto be sentenced after pleading guilty to exposing himself at an earlier hearing.

Golden was arrested after exposing himself outside the Travelodge on St Vedast Street at about 1.50am on December 21. He appeared in court last month but was remanded in custody until yesterdayto allow reports to be carried out.

On that occasion the court heard how Golden, who was last month given a seven day jail sentence for a similar offence in Suffolk, had committed the offence so he would be arrested and sent to prison - giving himself a roof over his head.

Golden was given a 28 day custodial sentence which was reduced to 21 days on account of his guilty plea but was released immediately as he had already served 22 days. He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for seven years.

Speaking after the case, Golden, who wanted to thank the prison service for the free food and accommodation, said: 'I didn't want to do this. It's really embarrassing but this is what you have to do in 2010 to get somewhere.

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'I know it sounds ridiculous but there was nothing else I could do. I'm embarrassed to have to have done this but was going to freeze out there. It was just to get a roof over my head. I've tried to get somewhere to live - I've gone around half the country trying to get somewhere live with no success.'

Philip Charnley, prosecuting, said an officer was called to the Travelodge at about 1.50am on Monday, December 21 to reports of a man who refused to leave the premises. Golden was then removed from the premises by the officer.

He said: 'The officer returned back into the hotel to speak to the receptionist and while he was there a lady resident said there was a man outside with his trousers down and said she was disgusted.'

Golden was arrested and when interviewed told police he was not aware there had been a member of the public who saw what he did. He said he had done what he had to get somewhere warm to stay.

Gavin Cowe, mitigating, said Golden had entered an early guilty plea and made 'frank and candid' admissions in interview about the offence which 'was not sexually motivated'. He said Golden had travelled around the country looking for work and a roof over his head before coming to Norwich.

'Seeing snow on the ground and having nowhere to stay he wanted to be arrested, but didn't wish to cause any damage or trouble for anyone. He was quite stricken that someone else had seen his actions.'

Mr Cowe said that while in custody in Norwich Golden had been put in touch a hostel in Norwich and had a 'very good chance' of finding accommodation and was hoping to build on that.

Sentencing Golden chair of the bench Jill Irving, said: 'This is a difficult situation, but not acceptable behaviour. We can understand why you did it but have to protect the public.

She added: 'We don't want to see you back here nor does any other court in the country. We want you to get yourself sorted out.'

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