A 55-year-old man has been banned from wearing short shorts on public transport after he repeatedly exposed his penis to women on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). 

John Paul Murphy is said to have lived a “law-abiding life” until he started exposing his genitals while staring at women on trains across east and south east London. 

One of his victims described anger at having to put up with the likes of Murphy. In a victim impact statement, she said: “I just want to be able to go through my personal and work life without fear of being sexually harassed.” 

Murphy, of East Ferry Road on the Isle of Dogs, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on Thursday (August 10) after he pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent exposure. 

The court heard that the first incident took place on the afternoon of January 28 this year when the victim was on the DLR between Greenwich and Heron Quays. 

Murphy chose to sit opposite her and soon she could feel someone’s eyes on her, prosecutor Mr Hussain said. 

When she looked up, she saw that Murphy had his penis and testicles out through one of the legs of his short shorts. He was staring at her while his legs were widely spread, the court heard. 

In a statement to police the woman said: “During and immediately after the incident I was absolutely shocked and horrified of what was happening. It was a very anxiety-inducing incident for me to experience. I felt that I was trapped because we were on a moving service.” 

Murphy continued to stare at her with his genitals out until she got off the train. 

The woman said: “I tried so hard not to make it obvious that I could see what he was doing because I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction or gratification that he was seeking.” 

Then on April 15 at around 7pm Murphy’s second victim was on the DLR between Canning Town and Greenwich when he sat opposite her, despite the carriage being nearly empty. 

He was wearing short shorts with no underwear and again exposed his genitals, Mr Hussain said. 

Murphy had his legs spread and continued to look at the woman until she got off the train. 

Two weeks later, at around 3pm on April 29, his third victim boarded the DLR and took a seat opposite Murphy, who was wearing short black shorts. 

“She rested her head against the glass and closed her eyes momentarily. When she opened her eyes to see which stop they were approaching she saw the defendant, Mr Murphy, staring at her,” Mr Hussain said. 

The woman said Murphy had his phone angled as if he was taking photos of her and his erect penis was out through a short leg. 

News Shopper: Murphy (right, wearing navy blazer and tan trousers) leaving court after he was given a community orderMurphy (right, wearing navy blazer and tan trousers) leaving court after he was given a community order (Image: Newsquest/Bolton)

One of the women subjected to Murphy’s vile behaviour said: “It still angers me to this day that this still happens to women when they’re going through their normal day to day business. It has to stop. 

“I just want to be able to go through my personal and work life without fear of being sexually harassed.” 

Representing Murphy, Lloyd Moody said that his client admitted what he had done at the earliest opportunity and has been taking steps to address his offending, including signing up to a course designed prevent this type of crime. 

“He is trying to understand, his wife is trying to understand, why a 55-year-old man has decided to do this,” Mr Moody said. 

After lengthy deliberations, chairperson of the magistrates' bench, Amanda Gibbon gave Murphy a one-year community order including 60 hours of unpaid work.  

Murphy was also given a sexual harm prevention order to last for five years, including a requirement that he must wear trousers or shorts of at least knee length when travelling on public transport. 

The defendant was told to pay £85 in costs to the prosecution and a £114 surcharge to fund victim services.