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Bangor Aurora leisure centre pervert filmed woman undressing in cubicle

Published 29/06/2016

Michael Campbell was convicted of voyeurism at Ards Magistrates Court
Michael Campbell was convicted of voyeurism at Ards Magistrates Court

A 26-year-old man who filmed a woman undressing in a cubicle at leisure centre and tried to film another who was with her two children has been convicted of voyeurism.

Michael Campbell, of Cranley Road in Bangor, had denied four charges of making a recording for his own sexual gratification at the town's Aurora leisure centre on August 15 last year.

His lawyer told Ards Magistrates Court that he admitted the first count, relating to him placing his mobile phone under a cubicle partition to film a woman.

The lawyer said Campbell did not accept the second charge, but admitted attempted voyeurism on a second woman in the cubicle on the other side. He had placed his mobile over the top of the cubicle, but failed to record footage.

The third and fourth charges related to filming two young boys aged 11 and four who were with their mother, the second victim.

Campbell's lawyer said he believed the children had left the cubicle, and added his client wished the court to know he was "not a paedophile".

The prosecutor confirmed no material relating to images or recordings of children were found on his laptop or two mobiles phone seized by police.

Campbell, under cross-examination, admitted he was behaving inappropriately in the leisure centre changing rooms that day.

He said after he filmed the woman on one side of him, he heard another on the other side tell her children to go out to their father while she changed.

He told the court: "That's when I thought 'OK'. I attempted to take a video over the cubicle, thinking the children were away.

"But I didn't do it, because I didn't press the button right."

The court heard the second victim's 11-year-old son observed a hand and a phone appear over the partition, and he whispered to his mother that he believed photos were being taken. Campbell told the court the phone he had used for the offences was damaged later on holiday, when he went into the sea while mistakenly carrying it.

The phone was so badly damaged police could not recover any information, and nothing else was found on Campbell's new phone, or on his laptop computer.

The prosecutor put it to Campbell that the mother told police she had taken her bra off at the back of the cubicle when her son told her they were being recorded.

He added: "You were fully aware children were there at the time... and you had no idea whether they were in a state of dress or undress, yet you still placed a camera over the top of a cubicle."

Campbell's counsel said while "the whole situation was abhorrent", there was "a high threshold of proof" for the prosecution to show that Campbell had filmed the children for sexual gratification.

Judge Mark Hamill agreed there was doubt on the charges relating to the children, and accepted he attempted voyeurism on the mother, as well as successfully recording the first victim.

Judge Hamill told Campbell his name was now "rubbish", adding there was "no way he would escape" the sex offender's register.

The matter was adjourned to August 2 for pre-sentence reports.

Belfast Telegraph

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