Oops!He's done it again

Our new neighbour was an oddball...

Published by: Fiona Ford
Published on: 16th August 2010

They say a man’s home is his castle and, admiring our new house, I felt every inch a king. Me and my wife Mary, 50, had always liked this neighbourhood – with its tree-lined streets and cheery families, it was the nicest part of town.
So once our two daughters Michaela, 20, and Lisa, 25, had flown the nest, we’d upped and moved. It was perfect, even boasted a garden big enough for our grandson Joshua, six, to play in.
‘Neighbours seem friendly,’ said Mary. ‘Look what they’ve brought.’
Stood at the kitchen door, she held a card and bunch of flowers.
‘Welcome to the area,’ she read. ‘From Pat and Dave.’
Over the next couple of weeks, as I left home for my sales assistant job, I felt truly blessed.
That was until I gave Mary a lift to her care assistant job one day.
Locking the front door, I turned around and my jaw hit the floor.
There, at the top of our drive, was… ‘Is that a man dressed… as a schoolgirl?!’ hissed Mary.
Now, I’m no stranger to fancy dress. But at 7.30am, a 60-year-old with knobbly knees dolled up like Britney Spears – complete with short pleated grey skirt and ankle socks – left me speechless. ‘I… I…’ I gabbled. Was I still asleep?!
‘Perhaps he’s going on a stag do?’ she said. ‘Or been on one?’
That night, I was relieved to see Britney had disappeared.
And soon enough, I forgot all about it. Until a couple of days later, when he turned up at the top of our driveway again.
Like before, he wore the skirt, ankle socks and trainers. Only this time he’d added a blue blazer, burgundy tie and cap.
As we stepped out the front door, I tried catching his eye, but he was looking everywhere except at me and Mary. ‘Ignore him,’ she bristled, getting in the car.
But I couldn’t. Was he mad? Or a Britney impersonator who just really liked the costume?
‘Maybe Pat and Dave can shed some light,’ I sighed.
That night, we popped round for a cuppa. ‘I know this sounds mad…’ I said. ‘But, have you ever seen a guy dressed as…’
‘Britney?’ finished Dave. ‘He always dresses like that when new people move in.
‘His name’s Peter Trigger,’ he continued. ‘He lives across the road with his mother. He always gets bored eventually. Just pretend he’s not there.’
Well, it was certainly an unusual way to break the ice.
As for ignoring him – easier said than done. Every morning when I went to work at 7.25am, I’d see him standing in the street by my house, as if waiting for me.
Eventually, I snapped. Despite my neighbours’ advice, I took matters into my own hands.
Next morning, instead of going to my car, I headed for Britney. ‘Come on, mate,’ I called. ‘Enough’s enough.’
But he wouldn’t look at me.
‘This isn’t funny,’ I huffed. ‘Put some normal clothes on.’
Still he stood there, cap pulled over his eyes, socks neatly folded around his ankles. How the hell could you ignore that? A grown man dressed as a schoolgirl!
It was creepy. Worse still, whenever we had visitors, they got an eyeful. Lisa almost tripped over she was so busy staring at him when she came round. ‘What’s that bloke doing?’ she gasped.
‘He does it every day,’ I sighed.
‘But what about Joshua?’ she worried. ‘God knows what he’d think if he saw a bloke dressed like that when he came to visit.’
I suppose we’d got used to Peter’s peculiar ways, but if it meant my grandson couldn’t come and visit, he had to be stopped.
The next day, leaving for work, I spied him in his usual spot.
But this time, as I approached, he turned round and bent over right in front of me to do up his shoelace. I almost got an eyeful as his gymslip skirt rode up.
I wasn’t sure, but it felt like he was doing it deliberately. ‘Weirdo,’ I muttered, getting into my car.
Over the next few weeks, whenever I came outside he’d be there, bending over. Things were going from bad to worse.
Leaving the house for work with Mary one frosty morning a few days later, we climbed into the car and waited for it to warm up. Turning on the headlight, we gasped. There stood Peter, just feet away, staring blankly at us.
‘What the…’ muttered Mary.
Slowly, he turned around and bent over, flashing his thighs as he pretended to tie his shoelaces again. Fuelled by anger, I snapped. ‘Maybe if you wore slip-on shoes, you wouldn’t waste so much time doing up your laces,’ I spat out the window.
But turning to look at Mary, I found her in tears. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘I can’t take this any more,’ she said. ‘He’s always standing there, now this. He’s creepy.’
Wiping her eyes, she took my hand. ‘We saved so hard to buy this house and now I’m scared to leave it in case he’s there. And if I’m out, I get butterflies in my tummy on the drive home, terrified he’ll be waiting for me.’
To begin with, Peter had been a figure of fun. But his weird ways had taken a sinister turn. We knew what had to be done. ‘I’m calling the police,’ I told Mary.
When I got off the phone to them, my hands were shaking from shock. ‘You’ve gone very pale,’ worried Mary.
‘Peter was given a five-year ASBO in December 2008 after loitering outside a school in his uniform,’ I told her. ‘Parents said he’d been bending over, showing his bare thighs and suggesting he had no underwear on.’
Thank God he’d never been around when Joshua had visited. But by flashing himself at us, he’d breached his ASBO.
Police dragged him back to Northampton Magistrates Court, where he was found guilty of causing alarm and distress.
Peter Trigger was ordered to attend sex offender sessions, was put on the sex offenders’ register for seven years, and has to be kept under supervision. He was banned from showing
his legs on a school day.
But Peter still didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.
‘My fundamental attitude is I did not do the crime I was convicted of, and I did not expose myself,’ he insisted.
Now, me and Mary are enjoying our dream home. I never had a problem with what he did in his home, just what he did in public. You could say what he did was like a Britney hit – Toxic!
Philip Copping, 50, Northampton