A man accused of indecency on a train has walked free after a judge agreed that 'men do fiddle with themselves in public'.
, 54, told Reading Crown Court he was not pleasuring himself in front of a female commuter, merely playing a pretend banjo
Towards the end of the the trial, Mr Recorder Jeremy Donne told the jury to ignore a prosecutor's summing up comments that no-one sits next to a woman on a train adjusting their underwear in public.
He referred them to a BBC TV show called Street Doctor - a series highlighting the early signs of testicular cancer- which showed men scratching their groin in public and said that the act was commonplace.
The 'violated' blonde woman had told the jury she looked over to see a newspaper jumping up and down on Mr Webb’s lap while he pulled 'a sex face'
and breathed heavily.
Greying 54-year-old Mr Webb told officers he simply had a heavy cold, was pulling his underpants out of his groin because it was sore and was miming picking banjo cords on his knee.
Mr Webb, who had a lower respiratory tract infection which he blamed for the heavy breathing, also submitted videos of him playing his banjo to the prosecution, which they accepted was genuine.
Jurors agreed unanimously and the defendant was acquitted of the single count of outraging public decency after three hours and 40 minutes of deliberations.
'He said he suffers from soreness and had to use Vaseline in the mornings because he gets quite uncomfortable.
'He said he was particularly uncomfortable that morning.'
When told the pretty victim had described his arm moving up and down 'rapidly', the court heard how he told the officer: 'For my sins I play the banjo, so sometimes I do, with my hands, pick out a pattern on my knees.'
The smartly-dressed woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: 'I know what he was doing - he was masturbating.
'I stopped at the time and asked myself "is he really doing that?"
'I clarified it in my head and I looked back again and I was sure what he was doing.
'I’m sorry, but I know what a man looks like when he masturbates and he was pulling that face.
Mr Webb, of Hill View Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, looked relieved at the end of his court case.