What Part of "Private Property" Don't You Understand?
The Times May 25, 2006
Nude sunbather wins right to roam her own garden
By Simon de Bruxelles
A 55-year-old woman's nakedness upset her neighbours but a court has
given her its blessing
A DISTRICT nurse who was arrested for sunbathing naked in her back
garden was cleared yesterday of indecent exposure.
Lynett Burgess, 55, was videotaped by her next-door neighbours, who
complained to police that the garden of her cottage was not private
enough for that kind of conduct.
Miss Burgess, a nurse and occupational therapist who lives in the
village of Llandyfriog, near Cardigan, West Wales, was arrested and
charged with indecent exposure.
The videotape made by Morien Jones, 34, who has three young
children, was shown to magistrates in Cardigan, who were asked to
decide whether Miss Burgess had caused offence by baring all last
Mr Jones told the court: "I was renovating the back of my home with
a local builder when Miss Burgess appeared in her garden. She walked
back and forth completely naked and I went to get my video camera to
record the incident. I have been extremely shaken by this. It has
been very upsetting and worrying. I don't want to bring up my
children in such an environment."
Mr Jones and his wife, Nia, a teacher, whose children are aged 12,
10 and 4, said that they could clearly see into their neighbour's
back garden from their cottage.
Maggie Hughes, for the prosecution, said that sunbathing nude, even
in the privacy of one's own garden, was not normal behaviour,
adding: "A woman exposing her lower region could be grossly
offensive to normal decent persons in society."
She asked Miss Burgess: "What kind of kick do you get from this
behaviour?" Miss Burgess replied: "How dare you. I take exception to
the word kick and find you prudish."
Miss Hughes: "I may be prudish but it's not normal for people to
sunbathe in the nude."
Miss Burgess: "You are prudish."
Trevor Emberton, chairman of Cardigan magistrates, told Miss
Burgess: "You have admitted sunbathing naked from time to time and
that this has become a normal pattern. We do not accept that you
intended to cause harm or distress and, therefore, find you not
After the hearing, Miss Burgess, who has a 20-year-old daughter,
said: "I'm glad to get this over and done with. I intend moving away
from the area and getting on with my life and occupation.
"I've lived more or less as a hermit since this blew up and I now
want to put it behind me."
Miss Burgess, who has lived in the village for six years, said that
she regularly sunbathed in a secluded area of her garden.
"Sometimes I would wear a top and pants, sometimes I would go
topless, sometimes nude. It depended on how hot it was.
"Lots of people do it in places like Greece and Kos. I don't find
that there's anything wrong with it.
"How they were able to see me, I just don't know. In court they said
they could see me on all fours. It is not a position I would take
Miss Burgess said that the court case had been an ordeal. "I have
been very distressed about it. I thought I was going to prison. I am
a Christian and go to church. It has been a horrific experience."
Mr Jones said: "We're absolutely heartbroken by the result. This
woman has been making our lives a misery."