A man accused of being the “Somerset gimp” has appeared before a Crown Court for the first time charged with outraging public decency.
Joshua Hunt, 31, appeared before Judge Martin Picton for a plea and trial preparation hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday.
He is charged with two counts of affray and one count each of possession of a bladed article and committing an act of outraging public decency.
It follows a series of incidents in a number of Somerset villages.
Mr Hunt, who lives at Brook Farm, Claverham, Somerset, is accused of having approached two lone women drivers on separate occasions on May 7 and May 9 2022 in the Bleadon area.
The 31-year-old, who was wearing a grey tracksuit in the dock, appeared in court flanked by two security officers.
He spoke only to confirm his name and did not enter any pleas to the four charges he faces.
The case was adjourned for a new plea and trial preparation hearing on June 23 because of delays on a report.
A four day trial is pencilled in for Nov 6. There was no bail application.
Mr Hunt’s appearance at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday followed an initial magistrates’ court hearing last month which heard claims that a man wearing a rubber suit was found to have a lock knife in his van after an incident with two female passers-by.
The earlier hearing was told that the rubber-clad individual had allegedly terrified the two women by jumping out on them in country lanes dressed in a rubber suit.
‘Struck with horror’
One of the women was described in court as being “struck with horror” while the other said she was “terrified”.
In a separate incident on Oct 25 last year, relating to the charge of outraging public decency, the earlier magistrates’ court hearing heard that Mr Hunt allegedly left a pair of friends distressed after he allegedly approached them wearing a gimp suit and rubbed his genitals over his clothing.
There have been a number of reports in villages around Somerset in recent years of what appeared to be a man dressed in a gimp suit, prompting Avon and Somerset Police to issue appeals for the public to report any sightings.
A neighbour, who lives in Claverham, has described Mr Hunt as “lovely” and a “very nice young lad”.
They added: “I know Joshua because he works for me, he does my gardening.”