Darin Caldwell avoids prison after pleading guilty to obscene acts in Beldon carpark

Joondalup man Darin Sean Caldwell pleaded guilty to obscene acts in front of teenage girls in Beldon. Picture: Facebook.
Joondalup man Darin Sean Caldwell pleaded guilty to obscene acts in front of teenage girls in Beldon. Picture: Facebook.

FATHER-of-two Darin Sean Caldwell had never done anything of a criminally sexual nature before.

So what led to his spontaneous decision to commit obscene acts in his car in front of young teenage girls in Beldon last year?

Caldwell (48) avoided jail in the Perth District Court today after pleading guilty to two counts of indecently dealing with a child aged between 13 and 16 and one count of obscene acts in public.

Justice Patrick O’Neal sentenced the New Zealand-born offender to 12 months in jail suspended for 16 months.

The spontaneity of his crimes had baffled and worried police prosecutors to the extent they successfully pushed for him to remain in custody for more than three weeks after his arrest on August 21.

Even Caldwell’s lawyer Neville Barber today described the offences as “unusual and probably inexplicable”.

“As abhorrent as the offences are, they are outside his usual experience,” he said.

Nonetheless, Dr Barber’s submission went some way to explaining why Caldwell exposed himself to at least eight high school girls in a 10-minute spree of sordid activity.

He told the court the Joondalup resident, who was “distraught” and “remorseful” over his actions, had become obsessed with sex at the time of the offence.

It had begun as a “normal day”, with Caldwell driving to a fast food store to buy a coffee near Belridge shopping centre.

But a “sexually-charged photo” he received on his phone in his car seemingly tipped him over the edge.

His arousal at the image escalated to the point he put down the windows of his Ford Ranger in the Belridge shopping centre carpark while parked about 1m from a 16-year-old girl.

The victim saw him watching her and behaving obscenely about 8.15am.

He then drove near a group of six girls wearing high school shirts, one of whom was 13, and continued his distressing behaviour.

The court heard his next victim was a 14-year-old girl, who approached his car after he called out to her while driving down Tasman Road in Beldon about 8.25am.

She could see Caldwell was wearing no pants while committing a sexual act.

The victim phoned her mother.

Caldwell was arrested that morning at his Joondalup home.

Dr Barber said it was “apparent” Caldwell “gave no thought to his actions that day”.

“He admits driving past people so they could see what he was doing,” he said.

Justice O’Neal accepted Caldwell was remorseful but said the offending was “obviously aberrant and disturbing behaviour made more so by the brazenness of it”.

“It almost seems that you wanted to be noticed and not merely noticed, but identified,” he said.

“The fact that you carried on exposing multiple victims to this behaviour elevates the objective seriousness.”

He said Caldwell’s psychological report suggested he was an “average risk” of reoffending.

State prosecution lawyer Dale Brewer said it was “very confronting conduct for these young children to have seen”.

But while there were “clear treatment needs”, Caldwell didn’t appear to have an “enduring attraction to young girls”.

The prosecution was not opposed to a suspended sentence.

Justice O’Neal ordered Caldwell to undergo counselling as part of his sentence.

He is not allowed to leave WA without permission.

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