Students have spoken of their shock after a man indecently exposed himself to them through the windows of their homes – with two similar incidents this term prompting suggestions that an exhibitionist is targeting young Exeter residents.
At around 2am on 14 January, two second year undergraduates had returned to their Rosebery Road property after a society social when they heard something thrown against a ground floor window.
Looking out, the students saw a man “standing with his trousers by his ankles masturbating outside on the street.”
The students described the man as around 35-40 years old, bald, with glasses and a “beer belly.” He was dressed in jeans and a black zip-up hooded top.
“When we looked out he was looking right at us and smiling,” they told Exeposé. “He was holding a torch – maybe from his phone – to light up his privates so that we could see.”
“It was horrific,” they said, explaining that they quickly ran to lock the doors as the man “did look pretty threatening.”
“We closed all the curtains and called our housemate to tell her not to come home and to stay at her friend’s as we didn’t want her walking alone,” they explained. “We checked again and he was still there. He was still until he saw us looking out and started masturbating again with the light on himself.” Shortly afterwards, the students called the police, who sent a patrol to the area.
“It did surprise us,” they said. “Exeter is such a lovely, quiet area and the fact that this guy targeted us makes us feel slightly vulnerable.
“We did not expect anything like this and we are much more careful walking home – for all we know he could have followed us home.”
A second incident occurred on Sunday 22 February, at around 11pm. Speaking to Exeposé, a second year International Relations student described hearing a knock on the back door whilst in the kitchen of her Culverland Road property.
“The door is glass and looks straight onto the living room and the kitchen,” said the student. “I was expecting to see one of my housemates but instead there was a big middle aged man holding his trousers down.”
Once again, the man appeared to be around 35-years-old, and either bald or with very short hair, with “quite a round face.” He was wearing a navy blue cap with a yellow logo, a navy blue bomber jacket and dark jeans with a brown belt.
“I don’t know how long he was standing there before he knocked,” the student said. However, explaining that the man “had to jump the wall to get into our garden,” she added: “He definitely knew I was there.
“He wasn’t doing anything apart from standing there with his trousers down,” she said, adding that the man did not appear to be trying to break into the house, but stared straight at her whilst exposing himself. “As soon as I saw him I ran to get my housemates and I saw him turn away immediately,” she continued.
The student called the police, who searched the area. Shortly afterwards she posted on Facebook to warn others that there was an “exhibitionist” in the city, advising students to “call the police straight away” if they experienced a similar incident.
“I never thought someone would risk climbing into a stranger’s garden only to exhibit themselves,” she told Exeposé. Speculating that the man could be “deranged,” she added that the fact two incidents have occurred “makes me think he would do it again.”
A University spokesperson commented: “We are pleased these unpleasant and upsetting incidents have been brought to our attention.
“We will be following up with the police to understand what action they plan to take and will be in contact with the students concerned to offer any support and advice we can to them.”
Kate Hawkins, VP Welfare and Diversity, commented: “The students involved in these incidents have done the right thing in contacting the police.
“The Students’ Guild Advice Unit is available to offer support to any students experiencing distressing incidents.”
Hannah Butler, News Editorbookmark me