A shamed former Premier League football star who flashed in front of a mum and her teenage daughter was branded a "predator" by his victims today.

Neil Shipperley, who played as a striker for Chelsea , Southampton, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United in the top flight, admitted staring at the two women from his white van with his manhood out and performing a sex act.

Shipperley, 45, handed himself in at his local police station just as his "shocked and violated" victims were reporting him.

Uxbridge Magistrates Court heard today that his crime was a "cry for help" as a list of personal and financial problems, plus coping with the end of his football career, came to a "crescendo."

Shipperley sat in the dock wearing a dark grey suit today, and was handed a community order, but was spared a possible jail sentence.

Shamed former football star Neil Shipperley, 45, leaves Uxbridge Magistrates' Court

Magistrates heard how the former footballer, who also played at League level for Watford, Barnsley, Wimbledon and Brentford and received seven England Under 21 caps, was taking his "usual route" in his white Transit van.

He stopped the vehicle next to the woman and her daughter in Station Road, Hayes, west London on Tuesday, September 17.

When the mother, thinking he was letting them cross, turned around to thank him she saw he was holding his genitals.

Shipperley then followed the women and was seen by them a further twice, staring and exposing himself.

Shaan Sethi, prosecuting, told the court: "The two complainants, a youth and her mother, were walking on Station Road, Hayes.

"The defendant drove his van alongside them, matching their speed. He wound down his window and stopped adjacent to them.

"The complainant, who believed the defendant was letting them cross the road, turned to thank him, but noticed he was holding his penis in his hand and staring at them.

"They walked further up the road to get away and he followed them, stopped by traffic lights."

He was performing a solo sex act, the court was told.

Whilst the mother was on the phone to police they noticed that Shipperley had parked between two buses further up the street, but was still performing a sex act.

Neil Shipperley pictured in his football playing days

When the pair were reporting the incident to police at the station a few moments later, Shipperley handed himself in and apologised.

He also told them if anyone did the same to his son he "would want to kill them."

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the mother said: "Some people say they may see flashers as pests or nuisances, but my idea of Neil Shipperley is a predator.

"His aim was to intimidate us isolate us and shock us he succeeded we were shaken disgusted and appalled by his actions.

"I felt anger towards him and his filthy thrill.

"If someone had done this to his son he would want to kill them. That's what he said to me at the police station."

In a separate statement, her teenage daughter said: "After the incident I felt as though I was a victim.

"I was scared, anxious and felt vulnerable.

"I worry now what would have happened if my mum wasn't there."

The court was told that Shipperley now sees a therapist because of his crime, and had been dealing with personal and financial problems.

Sarah O'Kane, in mitigation, said: "He has and was experiencing a number of difficulties; the death of his father, he had to adapt to a very different way of life due to the end of a previous career.

"He has also had issues with gambling - and to his credit has sought assistance with that from Sporting Chance.

"He also has a number of debts he has accumulated; not from frivolous spending, but from investments which effectively went wrong.

Neil Shipperley after Crystal Palace beat West Ham United in 2004 to win promotion to the Premiership

"Everything came to a crescendo on the day in question and he thinks on reflection this was a cry for help.

"He, as a result of these court proceedings, has had to face scrutiny from those closest to him and from those who know nothing about him other than from his previous career.

"As for the offence itself he has expressed anguish, embarrassment, shame, but above all remorse and that was evident you heard as soon as he went to that police station and said 'I am sorry.'"

Shipperley, of West Drayton, north west London, was handed a 12 month community order, requiring him to complete 20 days of rehabilitation.

He must also pay £200 compensation and complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

Shipperely was also ordered to attend Hayes Police Station where he must hand in details as part of being subject to a 'sexual offences notification order' for five years.

Chairman of the bench Sheila Evans told Shipperely: "First of all, I think it's worth saying that any punishment we impose on you today I'm sure is something which pales into insignificance to having to deal with your immediate family and friends.

"We recognised you have taken positive in seeking therapy.

"What you did was a serous offence and you have heard the impact statement with respect to the effect it has had on the victims in this particular case and how they feel appalled by the action you took. So that's something you will have to reflect on in due course."

She added: "We do find that it would be proper to place it into a community order level rather than a custodial order.

"However, we would have been perfectly within out right if there were other factors that gave us concern to give you a custodial sentence."

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