Rob Rothwell pleaded guilty to public nuisance and obstructing police.
Rob Rothwell pleaded guilty to public nuisance and obstructing police.

‘Thought they were a gang:’ Masturbator runs from police

A BEACH masturbator has told the court that he resisted arrest because he thought the police officers in plain clothes were gang members about to mug him.

Robert William Rothwell, 42, pleaded guilty to three charges in Maroochydore Magistrates Court today, including commit public nuisance and obstruct police.

Police prosecutor Brendan Newman told the court on February 3, Coolum police were patrolling Mudjimba Beach when they saw Rothwell masturbating with his right hand while another male watched.

“Police observed the defendant holding his penis in his right hand and was moving it back and forth rapidly,” he said.

“The defendant was in open view of the beach which is used by the public. The defendant has seen police approach and decamp along with the other male in a westerly direction along Ocean St.”

The court heard Rothwell was stopped by police shortly after, and when asked to identify himself, he gave the name “Billy Johnson”.

He stated he did not have any identification on him as he had been dropped off a friend.

Rothwell was then arrested by police, where he came aggressive towards them clenching his right fist and pulling his arm back ready to punch.

He was then handcuffed.

Self represented, Rothwell told the court he had never been in trouble with police before and had run because the officers had been in plain clothes.

“I’ve been in Australia for 20 years and I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said.

“When the police approached me, I thought they were a gang of two people who were going to mug me or attack me and that’s the reason why I ran off.

“When they threw me to the floor, I had sat on an ants nest and I told them that and that’s the reason I resisted.

“They also broke my $400 watch.”

Rothwell told the court he was moving back to the UK after losing his job with Qantas.

“There’s been a real lot of bad events that has happened to me, and this is just one of them,” he said.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said Mudjimba beach had become notorious for these sort of acts, which is why it was now heavily patrolled by police.

He fined Rothwell $600, with no convictions recorded.

“That will let you get out of the country okay,” he said.