Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Pervert used secret camera on shoe to take 'upskirt' pictures of women in Belfast shopping centre

Forestside shopping centre
Forestside shopping centre
Jonathan Alfred Gibson leaving Downpatrick Courthouse after he was sentenced for outraging public decency. Gibson filmed up women's skirts with a camera attached to his shoe on escalators in a shopping centre near Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan.
Jonathan Alfred Gibson leaving Downpatrick Courthouse after he was sentenced for outraging public decency. Gibson filmed up women's skirts with a camera attached to his shoe on escalators in a shopping centre near Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan.

A pervert from County Down took 'upskirt' pictures of unsuspecting women in a Belfast shopping centre, using a secret camera he had mounted on his shoe.

Jonathan Alfred Gibson, 37, a driving instructor from Central Promenade in Newcastle, has been put on probation for three years after confessing to taking the secret shots.

His plan came undone when he was reported to security staff by a suspicious male shopper on May 28 last year, who spotted him putting a foot wrong as he targeted females using an escalator in Forestside Shopping Centre.

Prosecutor Samuel Magee told Downpatrick Crown Court on Wednesday that Gibson was captured on camera himself, on CCTV footage, targetting women wearing skirts or dresses.

He added that after following one woman travelling up the escalator, he waited around for another unsuspecting female to make the trip back to the ground floor.

Mr Magee said Gibson, whose secret camera was attached to his shoelace, was spooked and suspecting he was being watched by security staff, left the centre and returned to his silver coloured Ford car.

However, he was easily identified from the livery on the side of the vehicle, advertising Johnny G's Driving School.

When arrested a few days later at his home, Gibson "candidly accepted" he had been wearing the camera allowing him to film under women's clothing.

Mr Magee said in later statements Gibson said he did not know why he had done what he had, but that he was "embarrassed and disappointed with himself".

Defence lawyer Joel Lindsay said that if ever there was a man who had learned a hard lesson, that man was Gibson, whose driving business had virtually been wiped out.

It had also put strain on his wife's business, which had received abusive emails. 

He added that it could not be said Gibson, who was disgusted with himself, was "caught bang to rights" as there had been no evidence save his confession to his "upskirting", as it is called. 

Mr Lindsay said since his arrest a remorseful and shamed Gibson had been receiving counselling through his church, and that the measure of any man was what he did afterwards, which in his case, he had destroyed the offending material on his way home.

This prompted Judge David Smyth QC to ask did he do so because he suspected he'd been caught, or because of the realisation of what he had done?

The judge said he thought "it much more likely", Gibson suspected he had been spotted and had destroyed the evidence - the sim card in the camera.

The Downpatrick Crown Court judge put Gibson on probation for three years, saying he believed the extended supervision was in his and the public's best interests.

He also banned him until further notice of having any mobile phone with a camera, or any miniature camera, to further reassure the public and to prevent any repetition of Gibson's offending.

Judge Smyth said that while his vulnerable victims were unaware he was photographing up their skirts and dresses, Gibson, whose motivation was "clearly sexual", had invaded and violated their privacy and peace of mind.

He added that Gibson's admitted "outrage of public decency" was of public concern, particularly to women who should be able to go shopping without fear of being targetted by people like him.

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