A man who dressed in a black latex suit and crawled across the floor in a ‘military fashion' had written a disturbing diary entry about terrifying people with a face mask made of women's pantyhose.
Joshua Hunt, 32, left female motorists ‘terrified' in Somerset by wearing an all-in-one ‘gimp suit' with his hands behind his back.
After his arrest, he told officers “I'm not a fan, I don't have a gimp suit”, before an array of black clothing, face masks, gloves and UV neon paint were discovered in his white Citroen van.
Bristol Crown Court heard that Hunt later said during his interview that he was suffering from a mental health episode, while his internet history revealed a number of searches for ‘Somerset gimp man'.
Hunt, of Claverham, Somerset, has denied two counts of putting someone in fear of provocation or violence under section 4 of the Public Order Act. He admits to causing annoyance, alarm and distress, but denies that he intends to do so.
It was first reported to police on May 7 after a lone female driver encountered a “dark colored object” on the side of the road at around 11.15pm.
“As I got closer to the object I could see that it was moving and I could see that the object was actually a person,” Lucy Lodge said.
He described the person as “lying face down in a military fashion and crawling on his stomach”, leading to fears it was an attempted kidnapping. After returning home, she reported him to the police and described being unable to sleep for three hours that night.
A second vehicle carrying a family traveling from a nearby caravan park also met Mr Hunt at around 10.30pm. The figure was wearing an “all black and shiny” outfit and was lying on the floor, with “shoulders moving like they were doing a commando attack.”
Just over 24 hours later, police received reports in the early hours of May 9 that a figure wearing “all black shiny clothing” had been spotted again on the same rural road.
Samantha Brown was returning from work with her sister-in-law when they came across a man standing in the middle of the road with his hands behind his back and his legs spread.
She said she felt “absolutely horrified” in the suit and was forced to speed up her vehicle, before contacting police five minutes later.
A short time later, PC Declan Coppock arrested Hunt, who was wearing gray joggers, after spotting his white van near the driveway in a field. After his arrest, he told the officer “I'm not a gimp, I'm not in a gimp suit, I'm not in a gimp suit,” before adding, “I need mommy.”
A search of his truck turned up black gloves, a white UV body lipstick, wet black clothing, some black tape, four masks with painted eyes and a mouth, and some dark pants.
During his police interview, he said: “My mental health has deteriorated rapidly and I'm in crisis,” before adding that he had tried to kill himself and had not intended to raise the alarm. “I'm crying out for help and would like some support for my mental health,” she said.
Officers also found a disturbing diary in which Hunt had written a story about a character called Jack who had bought a black rubber suit and made a mask out of women's pantyhose.
“The face looked like something out of a horror movie, a face that would scare the life out of anyone,” he wrote.
A download of his internet history turned up searches for “strange latex costume mask”, “masked man appeared in Somerset” and “Somerset gimp”. An ASDA receipt found at his address also showed the purchase of two pairs of women's leggings, while he had also ordered neon UV paint from Ebay.
The court heard that Hunt had recently been prescribed new anti-depressants which he had disagreed with and had made 19 calls to the Samaritans.
Giving evidence, he told the court: “I apologize very much to these people and that I agree that what they saw would have scared them, but my hand is on my heart that I never intended to cause any harm or distress to these people.”
Becoming emotional, he said: “I basically hate myself, the way I look, the way I am, everything about me.” He claimed he had traveled to the area to “get muddy” and that he had intended to kill himself on both nights.