Oval Sports Centre pool camera pervert caught in the act
NAKED women were secretly filmed by a pervert in one of Merseyside’s top sports centres.
Unemployed Paul Smith, 31, of Bracken Lane, Bebington, Wirral, used a small video camera hidden in his shoe to film a succession of unsuspecting victims at the Oval Sports Centre.
Smith had pleaded guilty to eight charges of voyeurism and appeared at Wirral Magistrates Court yesterday.
It was only when he was grabbed by an enraged husband, whose wife had spotted the lens in the trainer poking under her cubicle, that police were called.
They found eight videos, filmed between January 30 and February 6, of women aged 20-30 undressing before and after swimming.
Prosecuting, Alan Currums said: “On February 6 the woman had attended with her husband for a six o’clock swim and went to have a shower in the communal changing rooms.
“She saw Mr Smith before she entered the cubicle, noting that he was standing still but everyone else was moving around. As she was putting her trousers on she noticed trainers with a blue stripe under the cubicle wall, spotting a lens which was partly covered by a white sock.
“She mentioned it to her husband who told her to pull the shoes toward her, which she did. He then knocked on Smith’s cubicle shouting ‘give me your phone’.”
After two minutes, Smith tried to push past the husband saying he was in a rush – attempting to leave in his bare feet.
When they arrived officers recovered a small hand held video camera from one of his socks.
The woman told police she had felt “horrible” and “very shocked”.
Mr Currums explained the footage was downloaded by police, finding footage of various pool users drying themselves, some naked, some half dressed.
Defending him, Quentin Neal said he had been appointed a health worker and Mr Smith was classed as a vulnerable adult.
He had no other criminal convictions and was of previous good character, pleading guilty to the offences at the first opportunity.
Mr Neal said that the videos had not been distributed in any way and his client was deeply sorry for what he had done.
He was sentenced to 100 hours of community work and a two-year supervision order. He must also pay £100 to the husband and wife who alerted the authorities, as well as £80 court costs.
He must sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years; his camera was forfeited and the footage on it destroyed.
Speaking after the court case a Wirral Council spokesman said: “The Oval, as is the standard with modern swimming pools because of the greater flexibility it allows, introduced village style changing areas at the time of its refurbishment last year.
“We take the security and safety of visitors to the Oval and all of our sites extremely seriously, ensuring that staff are regularly present and working around the changing areas during all public swimming sessions to deal with any issues that might arise.” THE LIVERPOOL ECHO