A man, who appeared to be masturbating while watching women on Llandudno Beach, was arrested but later released for lack of evidence.
On Wednesday November 11, a woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, told Sentinel News she had begun suntanning at Llandudno Beach, when an elderly man came to sit down close to her.
“The beach was semi busy for a weekday, but there was enough space for everyone to have a decent amount of distance in between each other,” the woman said.
The man was wearing light brown cargo shorts, a dark buff that covered his face up to his nose, sunglasses and a peak cap. He carried with him a book and a towel.
“His outfit and age fit the description of a man that I had been warned about previously. This man has been termed ‘The Clifton Wanker’, as he has often been caught masturbating to women of all ages on Clifton.”
She said when she then decided to turn away from the man, trying not to give off any suspicions, he flipped over onto his stomach and proceeded to allegedly masturbate while watching her.
“When he saw that I had spotted him, he quickly removed his hand and pretended to be scratching his stomach. I quickly packed my stuff without making a scene as I was shocked and afraid that he would approach me if I said anything.”
She ran up the Llandudno stairs and began having a panic attack. She informed the lifeguards on duty and was told that the man had been caught on Llandudno doing this before.
“The lifeguards found him still on the beach, and the police were called. He was then taken down to the station and held for questioning,” she said.
Hout Bay police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Khutala Masakala confirmed that the incident had taken place at Llandudno Beach, where a man had been arrested on the beach and taken in for questioning.
“The 71-year-old man was seen with his hand under his clothing and was seen by a female who reported the incident,” she said.
However, Lieutenant Colonel Masakala added that he was later released as there was not enough evidence to charge him with public indecency.
The woman then decided to reach out to social media and warn the public, which led to an influx of messages from women who have similar experiences on Llandudno and other beaches.
“I put out a warning on social media about my experience and Almost immediately I started receiving an influx of messages, videos and a few photos from girls who had experienced the same or very similar situations with a man that fit the description,” she said.
“It is frustrating that this man is clever enough to keep himself covered while doing the act as he knows he can get caught, but not charged.”
Another woman, who only wanted to be known as Celeste, also had a similar experience, but in her case, she had not taken it far and at the time, did not think much of it.
“It was actually at the beginning of this year when I also spotted the man, dressed in his cargo shorts, on Clifton Beach. He had been moving around the beach sitting at various spots until he landed up nearly right on top of us.”
Celeste was with her 18-year-old niece at the time and when they started hearing heavy breathing behind them, they immediately became suspicious and started packing their things.
“He sat there reading his book, and instead of having his towel underneath him, he had his towel thrown over his legs. My niece was the first to pick up an unusual vibe from the man as he probably greeted us more than three times in the space of like 10 minutes,” Celeste said.
She did not open a case or report the man to the lifeguards or police.
Celeste said: “At the time, we did not think anything of it. We just felt suspicious and moved away. We even greeted the man before we left, and we moved down further. Later on, we spotted him again, sitting on a different spot and a few metres away from him was a woman bathing in the sun, topless.”
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas found the matter “grossly disturbing” and urged beachgoers to immediately report such incidents to the authorities.
“It is not right that women or any other person should be made to feel uncomfortable, in public or anywhere, and I commend the woman who took the fight to bring the perpetrator to book via social media,” he said.
“There can be no more silence on issues such as these.”
He further hoped police are able to take the case further and charge the “alleged sexual offender who is reported to expose himself indecently in public spaces.”
“I also strongly urge persons experiencing anything untoward on our beaches to alert lifeguards, law enforcement and the police,” Mr Quintas said.