AN ELDERLY man performed a sex act in front of a group of children, a court was told.

Southampton Crown Court heard that 72-year-old Michael Beckett performed the act in view of a group of girls, and on a second occasion exposed himself to a woman.

The offences happened while Beckett was in his first-floor home in Lundy Close, Lordshill, Southampton, which backs on to a small green.

He admitted to police that he found the idea of children watching him sexually gratifying, and that he would stand in a window up to six times a week knowing that youngsters and dog walkers would be in the area.

The court heard how Beckett had an “unhealthy preoccupation” with pornography, watching it for hours each night.

Prosecutor Rebecca Austin told the court that on June 2 an 11-year-old girl was playing with her friends in the area behind Beckett’s flat.

She saw some teddy bears in an upstairs window but in the same window noticed a naked man, who was later identified as Beckett, performing a sex act.

Ms Austin said: “She was scared and ran to let her mother know what she had seen. Her mother was preparing dinner when her daughter told her and it made her stomach turn.”

The second incident occurred on July 7 when a woman visiting a friend in the area thought she heard someone shout to her.

She looked up at the building, seeing Beckett with his dressing gown open.

The victim described the incident as “offensive” and said she believed he intended to be seen.

At a previous hearing Beckett pleaded guilty to intentionally exposing himself and taking part in a sexual act in the presence of a child under 13.

Recorder Maria Lamb told him: “Your behaviour is wholly unacceptable. I think you are able to control your behaviour but you choose not to.

“The fact that these offences took place when children were likely to be around makes it an aggravating factor. You have done one month in custody and you can do more if you come back before this court again.”

Defence barrister Jamie Gammon said Beckett had no previous convictions, and that he does not have “any particular attraction” to children.

Beckett was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a one-year supervision order. He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.