‘Peeping tom’ council workers watched woman undressing for bath

Two “peeping tom” CCTV operators used street safety cameras to film a young woman undressing for a bath, a court heard.

Kevin Judge and David Welsh, aged 42 and 40, pointed and gestured as images of the 25-year-old woman were displayed on a 42-inch screen in a control centre in Bootle, Merseyside.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the two men were employed by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council as CCTV operators when the incident took place last November.

Judge was a main camera controller and Welsh a radio controller, communicating with security and police patrols if he saw a disturbance.

Peter Davies, prosecuting, told the court that on the night in question the men were not performing their duty of keeping the streets safe but were filming the woman, who cannot be named, for their own sexual gratification.

Both men deny a charge of voyeurism and Welsh denies misconduct in public office.

Another man has already pleaded guilty to voyeurism and the team leader has pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office. Judge has also pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office.

Mr Davies said: “These cameras were misused. Instead of focusing on streets and car parks they focused on a young lady inside her own flat, where she was in the bath, where she was undressing, where she was going to the toilet.

“The cameras were focused and manipulated on her while she was believing she was enjoying her privacy.”

Mr Davies said the cameras first focused on the woman as she greeted her boyfriend and spoke with him in the front room. The pair had an obviously emotional discussion and were seen embracing. In fact, they were splitting up and the man left after half an hour.

Mr Davies said: “It is the prosecution’s case that those watching the man and woman embrace were hoping there would be other, more intimate developments that would be shown on the screen. They were to be disappointed.”

After the man left, the woman ran a bath and walked around the flat undressing.
The images, which were automatically recorded on to a computer hard drive, captured both rear and frontal full nudity, as well as the woman in her underwear.

The cameras continued to focus on her as she sat in a dressing gown, eating a meal and watching EastEnders.

Mr Davies explained that the CCTV control room itself was monitored by a camera.
The camera showed Judge turning down the lights as the film was shown on a large screen.

He added: “Mr Welsh is seen to be in an avid and animated mood. He is seen to point to the screen and raise his hands to his eyes in a gesture to suggest binoculars.”

In police interview, Judge admitted seeing the images but claimed it was his colleague, who has already admitted voyeurism, who trained the camera on the woman.

He denies voyeurism on the grounds that he did not look at the images for the purpose of sexual gratification.

Welsh told police he was busy on the radio and with other work and did not see the images.

The trial is expected to last a week.

The jury watched the footage of the woman and the footage of the CCTV control room.
The images were not shown to the public gallery or press bench.

The case continues today (Wednesday, December 7).

Copyright Press Association 2005

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