A court has heard how a woman subjected to a serial flasher was so “shattered” by the experience that she had no option but to sell her home and move away.

Self-employed gardener Lee Gatenby appeared before Bradford Crown Court to be sentenced for five counts of indecent exposure involving three separate women in the Bradford district.

Prosecutor Christopher Bevan said 41-year-old Gatenby, of Ethel Street, Keighley, had been employed as a gardener by a woman who asked to see examples of his previous work.

On one occasion, he passed her his phone and she scrolled through various images but “swiped one step too far” and saw an image of a penis.

Mr Bevan said: “She then noticed that his zip was undone, and his penis was hanging out.”

The woman did not mention anything at the time due to feeling “awkward”.

He returned three days later to collect money owed for gardening work and, as she reached in a cupboard, she saw that once again his zip was undone with his penis hanging out.

The woman, who said she felt “shocked and vulnerable” given that the incident took place in her own home, reported the matter to the police.

In a victim statement read to the court she said she initially could not tell her adult children what had happened as she “harboured feelings of embarrassment, inadequacy, and perhaps guilt.

“I was deeply disturbed, not sleeping, and beginning to not want to be in my house. However I was too scared to go out and see people. I have no trust, especially in men.

“My mental health and whole wellbeing have been shattered. My anxiety levels are at an alarming level and my alcohol intake increased in the hope it would help me forget my experiences.

“I sold the property and moved in the hope that I could recover and wouldn’t risk seeing him around.”

The year before, Gatenby had exposed himself in the same way to another woman who had asked him about gardening work. She reported Gatenby when she saw images on his WhatsApp of what she believed to him masturbating. She said she was “shocked” and that his behaviour was “disgusting”.

On two earlier occasions in 2019 a female delivery driver met Gatenby at his home. On the first he came to the door with his penis hanging out of his undone zip.

Around three weeks later she delivered another parcel and he answered the door in a dressing gown. After inviting her inside he undid the rope around the dressing gown and exposed himself. In a statement to police the woman said he was “starkers”.

The victim’s manager later agreed that she would no longer have to deliver to Gatenby’s address. She said she had suffered frequent panic attacks, was frightened that she might bump into him, and was wary of going to people’s homes.

Mr Bevan said: “His role as a gardener involves going into private settings with women and that he is trusted by these customers not to behave in a way which would cause them alarm and distress.

“The court can take judicial note as to what a woman would think on her own, in her house, with somebody who they have hired with his penis hanging out, and what that would make them feel.”

The court also heard that Gatenby, then 24, had been sentenced to six months in prison in 2007 following a trial for exposing himself to women and teenage girls in Keighley.

Mitigating, James Holding said Gatenby admitted his guilt and offered his apologies to the victims.

He said Gatenby’s motives needed to be addressed and that whilst he was previously in prison he had never received any rehabilitative support. He had sought out voluntary therapy with a charity.

He said: “He is essentially begging for help but isn’t being provided with it.”

Sentencing Gatenby, Mr Recorder David Kelly said that despite the aggravating factors of his previous convictions and the impact on the woman who had felt compelled to move house, his offending did not cross the custody threshold.

He said: “One of your victims was so distressed and suffered such great anxiety as a result of your exposure to her, that she ultimately felt there was no other way of dealing with it - and to avoid ever coming across you again - than to move house to another town.”

He handed Gatenby a two-year community order and imposed a five-year restraining order banning him from any contact with his victims. He was also told to register as a sex offender.

Gatenby was ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid community work, and to undertake 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He was also ordered to pay costs of £705.

Recorder Kelly added: “You clearly, as you now acknowledge, have a problem and it does need to be dealt with. The sentence that I have imposed will strive to ensure that that does occur.”