POLICE investigating complaints of a man dressed in women's clothes being sexually suggestive to children on a school bus caught a 49-year-old motorist wearing a purple leotard, blonde wig and high heeled boots.
Blackburn magistrates heard Lawrence Balshaw reversed at high speed when his car was approached by police, causing school run traffic to swerve into hedges.
When Balshaw was eventually stopped he was wearing a purple leotard and combat trousers. The wig, glasses and boots were recovered from a bin.
Balshaw (50), of Lyndale Close, Wilpshire, admitted dangerous driving and possessing an offensive weapon, a pick-axe handle, in the car park of Eaves Hall Country Hotel, West Bradford. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for two years, made subject to community supervision for two years and banned from driving for 18 months.
Mrs Philippa White (prosecuting) said police received reports of a man in women's clothes, driving a blue Peugeot, winking and making sexual gestures towards children travelling to Bowland High School, Grindleton.
On July 21st at 8-45 a.m. a police officer in an unmarked vehicle saw the car pull up outside the school as the children were getting off a bus. Balshaw was wearing a blonde wig and sun glasses.
As the officer approached, Balshaw reversed down Sawley Road at speed before reversing around a blind bend towards Grindleton.
As the officer gave chase, Balshaw drove through Grindleton at speed and as he entered West Bradford was doing 45 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone when children were going to school and the lanes were busy.
Balshaw was eventually found on the hotel car park wearing a purple leotard, combat trousers and nothing else.
He told police the pick axe handle was to protect himself in case he was accosted because of his appearance.
Mr Jonathan Taylor (defending) said Balshaw had no previous convictions and was clearly unwell at the time. "It is evident there are deep underlying problems," said Mr Taylor. "The dressing in women's clothing is an attempt at escapism and a cry for help. He knows that what he did was extremely dangerous and it is only by the grace of God nobody was seriously injured or even killed."