Update: Todd was given a three-year supervision order relating to 15 counts of pseudo-indecent photographs of children. A community order to run concurrently for charges of voyeurism, which he admitted was also given.
Peepshow pervert caught on camera
A BACKSTAGE voyeur filmed children as young as six getting changed for a stage show.
Kevin Todd, 33, had been working as a sound engineer for a production company staging a show at the Journal Tyne Theatre.
The production, the Tyne Theatre Stage School’s Gala Show, this summer had a cast of 170 children and young people aged six to 20.
After observing where the youngsters got changed, he left a concealed camera recording them undress between scenes of their July 8 performance.
The peeping Tom was only exposed when a changing assistant spotted the camera and confronted Todd, then alerted police.
Panicked Todd, of Rothbury Terrace, Heaton, Newcastle, sent desperate text messages to the stage school manager trying to cover his tracks. But footage showed he had even caught himself on camera after switching on the equipment.
He was today facing jail after pleading guilty to a charge of voyeurism and using observing equipment at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Prosecuting Susan Adcock said: “Children at the show were aged between six and 20, most of them aged under 16. The defendant, engaged as a sound engineer, had been employed to provide services for the Gala show.
“During a performance one of the changing assistants was present in the changing area when they found a camera covered by a shirt.
“The police were informed and came to take it away. When they examined the footage the defendant was seen on the screen having just switched it on. Footage of children changing followed.”
Ms Adcock continued: “During the interval the witness was seen by Todd, who subsequently sent her a text message saying, ‘I’ve done a stupid thing’.
“Todd sent the witness further messages saying, ‘I need to talk to you after the show. Please don’t take it any further, it wouldn’t affect the show’.”
The court also heard when Todd was later challenged by police over sexual attraction to children, he broke down in tears and cried, ‘I need help’.”
In a statement read out in court, Tyne Theatre Stage School’s principal Michaela Farren said: “I feel like I’ve had my trust betrayed. But my main concern is for the children and their families. For this to happen at a stage school is horrible.”
The theatre sent a letter to parents when the offences came to light.
Defending Tony Malian told the court Todd admitted placing the camera in the changing room but denied intending to film the children directly.
He said his client admitted a sexual fetish for theatre costumes, but his intention had been to show how quickly the children could get changed.
Todd sat still and emotionless as he was told he could face jail. Chairman of the magistrates Mr Lyons said: “We’ve looked at what makes this case more and less serious. We’ve also looked at the position of trust. Images of people, some of them children, were taken.
“We’ve also taken account of the shame you’ve shown. Given the seriousness of the offence we must consider a custodial sentence.”