Man jailed after exposing himself multiple times to women and girls at Knaresborough park
A man has been jailed for over two years for exposing himself to women and girls in a beautiful public park in Knaresborough, popular with families and dog walkers.
Cracium Silaghi, 26, a power-lifter, had only been in the UK a matter of weeks when he targeted six females on separate occasions at picturesque Jacob Smith Park and Bebra Gardens in the town.
Silaghi performed a sex act on himself in front of some of the victims who were “shocked and horrified”, York Crown Court heard. He now faces potential deportation. One of the women was sexually assaulted by Silaghi, who used the cover of trees and bushes to hide his behaviour from all but the unfortunate victims.
Silaghi denied the obscenities, claiming he was merely out jogging and training for his beloved ‘power-lifting’. But a jury at York Crown Court heard he had deliberately worn loose clothing, namely tracksuit bottoms.
The victims had been seriously affected by the shocking incidents, some of which are thought to have occurred near young children and families.
Two of the victims were teenage girls - one of them under-age - who were sat chatting on a park bench when suddenly Silaghi loomed into view, performing a sex act on himself while staring and “smiling” at them.
Silaghi, who lived near the scenic, tree-lined park, denied all allegations, forcing his victims to give evidence in court. He appeared for trial this week after denying four counts of indecent exposure, or outraging public decency, and one count of sexual assault.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson said the first incident occurred at about 4.15pm on May 12 – barely two weeks after Silaghi arrived in the town. Silaghi said he was “out for a run, to keep fit, for power-lifting”, and was merely relieving himself when the woman spotted him because he had a kidney problem.
The young woman said Silaghi exposed himself to her as she walked her dog through the park, then disappeared “into some trees”. She called her partner and father who rushed to the park and blocked Silaghi’s exit until police arrived.
Officers took him into custody but he denied any wrongdoing and was released pending further enquiries.
But eight weeks later, at about 10am on a Saturday morning, he targeted another woman in Bebra Gardens, a botanical park in the grounds of Conyngham Hall, near Knaresborough Castle. This time, Silaghi claimed he wasn’t even in the park and was at home with his fiancée.
Just two days later, on July 15, two teenage girls sat on a park bench saw Silaghi slope off into some bushes where he performed a sex act on himself.
Later that same day, another woman was confronted by a male performing a sex act on himself and the description again matched Silaghi. Just half an hour later, again in Bebra Gardens, Silaghi sexually assaulted a woman on her lunch break as he walked past her in the park.
This time police had already been alerted to the earlier incident and two officers arrested Silaghi moments after the assault. One of the arresting officers said Silaghi spoke “very little English” and demanded an interpreter.
Silaghi, who said he was a construction worker, came to live in the UK at the end of April and moved into a place in Knaresborough. His barrister Angus Macdonald said he had no criminal record, but on Thursday the jury found Silaghi guilty of all charges.
Prosecutor Ms Richardson said all the victims had been severely affected, not least the teenage girls and their families. Judge Simon Hickey said it was “just pure luck” that Silaghi didn’t come across other potential victims in an area popular with families and dog-walkers.
Why we all need to support Harrogate charity Horticap this Christmas“A number of women have been exposed to obscene behaviour, culminating in (sexually) touching a woman in her lunchtime,” he added.
He said the young woman who was sexually assaulted was now worried about walking alone in the park.
“You clearly planned these offences (and)… you chose areas near where you lived (which you knew) would be populated by lone women,” added the judge.
Jailing Silaghi for two years and two months, Mr Hickey told the defendant: “Your activities will be drawn to the (attention of) the Home Secretary, who may well decide whether you remain in this country or whether he will deport you.”
Silaghi, of Stockwell Grove, Knaresborough, was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order of the same length.