A UNIVERSITY lecturer from Crewe made a detour to Warrington to expose himself to women while on the way to Wales for his son’s birthday.

When police arrested Derek Ashford they found he had items including CS gas and women’s stockings in his vehicle.

The 49-year-old Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer, who was based at Crewe’s Cheshire campus, said the gas was for anyone who tried to attack him for his illegal actions.

Judge David Hale told Warrington Crown Court on Monday his potential use for it made it a serious offence.

Antony Rose, defending, said: “It was an extreme situation where he felt in danger.”

But Judge Hale replied: “That is of his own making.”

Ashford, from Alsager, also had a previous conviction for exposure and sexual assault dating back to the 80s.

He struck on October 26 and targeted two women within 30 minutes.

His first victim - a 31-year-old woman - had just left a surgery on Longford Street at 5.45pm when she saw him.

David Polglase, prosecuting, said: “She noticed the defendant and was struck by the fact it was a cold day and he was wearing short shorts.

His victim headed into a chemist to avoid him when he exposed himself.

Ashford then exposed himself to a 17-year-old waiting at a bus stop on Manchester Road while wearing a hoodie and a ladies stocking fashioned into a mask.

Mr Polglase added: “When the defendant came close she started to make her way away.

“When she was able to contact her father he arrived in his car and they were able to follow the defendant in his van going on to the M62.”

The police pulled him over on the motorway and on a search of his van found a grey rucksack with the CS gas inside, ladies stockings and another bag with pornography and more ladies stockings.

In a further search police found unused condoms and a machete, which Ashford said was to be used to chop wood while camping in Wales.

Mr Rose added: “He was a senior lecturer and he was working hard late into the night. It’s not an excuse. What he did was some form of release from all that difficulty.

“He didn’t touch anyone, he didn’t attempt to force himself on anyone.

“His arrest and conviction have caused considerable difficulty, not just for him but his family and his friends. His family stand by him.”

Sentencing him after pleading guilty to two counts of exposure and possessing the CS gas, Judge Hale said: “This urge you have is a disaster for you. At the age of 49 you have worked to get yourself in an excellent position as a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.”

He was jailed for eight months concurrently for the exposure charges and a further eight months for possession of CS gas to run consecutively.

A spokesman for Manchester Metropolitan University confirmed Ashford resigned from his post in November.