'Somerset gimp' banned from gimping for five years

Joshua Hunt. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A self-employed gardener from Somerset has been banned from dressing in an all-black gimp suit in public at night and “crawling, wriggling or writhing on the ground” for five years.

It comes after Avon and Somerset police linked him to 25 incidents committed by the so-called "Somerset Gimp".

Joshua Hunt, 32, has been given a sexual risk order which also prevents him from wearing any type of mask or face covering, unless for medical reasons.

A district judge imposed the order following a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Friday 3 November.

It comes just one week after Hunt was convicted of two offences of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress.

That hearing heard how a man in an all-black gimp suit had terrified two female motorists in May 2023, in Bleadon, near Weston-super-Mare.

It was the latest in a series of bizarre incidents where a man, dressed in skin-tight dark clothing, was seen writhing around on the ground and stepping out in front of cars in remote locations across North Somerset since 2018.

The court previously heard that witnesses to one incident in October 2022 saw a man wearing a gimp suit who touched himself inappropriately and also “gyrated against the floor”.

Chief Inspector Jonny Murray, North Somerset's policing commander said: "One of Hunt's victims described it as the 'worst night of her life' and the other said it was 'the most frightened I have ever been'.

"Nobody should ever have to experience such fear and those testimonies tell their own story about how scary these two incidents in Bleadon were.

"We have taken these offences and his wider pattern of behaviour incredibly seriously and I hope the criminal charges and civil proceedings we’ve instigated reassure people we will not tolerate this totally unacceptable behaviour.

"We hope this sexual risk order will help protect the public from harm and distress, and prevent further such incidents happening again."

Lawrence Wilcox, representing the force, told Friday’s hearing that Hunt had been linked to 25 incidents in total.

“The evidence of the earlier incidents is based upon intelligence reports and the latter reports is more specific,” he said.

“But, we say, if the court is satisfied that the intelligence of the earlier incidents were of a sexual nature and committed by the defendant; there is material within that bundle that relates to that of a sexual nature and the acceptance of necessity.”

Hunt had been linked to 25 incidents in total. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Peter Richardson, defending, said Hunt had taken a “pragmatic and practical approach” to the application.

“We are not contesting the application but that is not the same as agreeing with everything that is set out,” he said.

The sexual risk order was imposed for five years which also means Hunt is on the sex offenders’ register for the same period.

Among the restrictions, Hunt, of Claverham, North Somerset has also been instructed to refrain from wearing or possessing a mask in a public place and donning all-in-one black clothing at night in public.

There are also restrictions placed upon Hunt’s computer use and access to the internet.

Hunt is banned from wearing an all-in-one black suit or anything that resembles it for five years Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Imposing the order, District Judge Joanna Dickens said: “I am satisfied that you have done a series of acts of a sexual nature.

“A sexual risk order is quite a serious order, and it has a lot of obligations of you and if you breach this order you can go to prison. I only make an order if I think it is necessary to protect the public from you and I do think it is necessary.”

His trial last week heard that when Hunt was arrested in May this year, he told police: “I am not a gimp, I do not own a gimp suit.

“I am not in a gimp suit. I am not dangerous, I am a normal person, I have got a few problems.”

He had also researched news and videos online about the Somerset Gimp who had been terrorising people late at night since 2018.

The farmer’s son had previously been arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance in connection with a series of incidents in the Cleeve, Claverham and Yatton areas last year, but no further action was taken due to insufficient evidence.