Pervert jailed for 15 months for spying on women and girls in changing rooms
A father-to-be has been jailed for spying on women and young girls in a sports centre’s changing rooms.
Daniel Helps, 36, recorded 298 films between 2011 and 2014 by holding his iPhone under cubicle doors.
He admitted voyeurism offences as well as spying on his girlfriend’s friend having sex with her boyfriend and recording a female lodger in the bathroom and bedroom between October 2004 and October 2007.
He pleaded guilty to six counts of voyeurism and two counts of making indecent images of children and was jailed for 15 months at Swindon Crown Court.
Helps was caught when a 13-year-old girl spotted a man’s hand holding a black iPhone under the changing cubicle at the Olympiad leisure centre in Chippenham.
CCTV images were published in a local newspaper and Helps was identified and arrested in July 2014 at his home in the town.
He initially claimed he had seen someone stealing the girls’ bags and tried to catch them in the act but later admitted the offences claiming he did not want the photos for sexual gratification.
Hannah Squire, prosecuting, said: “He said he was attracted to nudity but not in a sexual way.
“He wanted to see what other people looked like.”
The court heard that another victim aged 17 spotted an iPhone being held under her cubicle door at the same leisure centre in May 2012 and reported the incident to police.
In a victim impact statement she said: “I was very fragile, vulnerable and conscious about my body.
“I remember feeling shock and horror. I remember crying and crying on the way home that night. I worried about what would happen to the videos that had been taken.
“I haven’t been swimming there since this happened. I found myself being paranoid wherever I was.
“Each time I saw a black iPhone I couldn’t help looking at the person who was holding it. Were they staring? Were they looking at me?”
Another victim, the lodger, said she found it “sickening” was “disgusted” by the photos he had taken.
Prosecutor Ms Squire added: “He thought what he was doing was harmless.
“When he was told about (one of his victims) he became visibly upset and wanted to apologise to her himself.”
After his arrest Helps, described as having ‘a good job’, volunteered for counselling and wrote a letter expressing his remorse.
The court heard that his pregnant wife, who is due to give birth to their first child next February, had written a letter in support of him, as had his father, brother and two friends.
Five of the charges related to offences at The Olympiad leisure centre between July 2011 and March 2014 and related to under 13s, under 16s and under 18s.
Mitigating, Andrew Eddy said: “He fully accepts that he has committed these offences.
“He is now in a position where he understands the seriousness of his offences.
“He is generally a decent, law-abiding and hard-working man. This is completely out of character.
“It will be good for society and for him to undergo therapy.”
Judge Tim Mosley QC dismissed the claim that the offences were “out of character” and said a custodial sentence was inevitable.
He told him: “Some of the victims were particularly vulnerable by virtue of their age and the circumstances in which you recorded what they were doing.
“There were several if not many victims. You caused real distress to each of them, which will be long lasting for many of them.
“What you did was not a one off and it cannot be described as being out of character.”
Helps was handed a 15 month sentence for the voyeurism offences and another 15 months for making indecent images of children, to be served concurrently.
The judge also issued a sexual harm prevention order which will last for ten years and banned him from working with children and vulnerable adults.