August 2015

Voyeur set up camera to film women using toilet at party

A bungling voyeur was captured on a video camera he set up to record women using the toilet at a party – in a stunt inspired by an American Pie film.

Adam Stephen Barugh, 26, used velcro to hide the small digital camera beneath a sink directly facing a toilet, after being invited to a house in Brotton.

His solicitor Paul Watson told Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday that the “prank” was inspired by watching the comedy film American Pie: Bandcamp, which features women being secretly filmed.

But Mr Watson said that while characters in the film “saw the funny side” he conceded that “unfortunately real life is not like American comedy films”.

During the party, a female at the house noticed a small blue light coming from beneath the sink while using the toilet, and alerted her mum and sister.

Quickly hooking the camera up to a laptop, they discovered it had captured a full facial shot of Barugh setting up the camera, and videos of two women using the toilet.

They told others at the gathering and kicked Barugh out of the house, in the summer of 2010, but decided against reporting the incident.

But prosecutor Lynne Dalton said the camera had been stored for five years in a drawer, and the victim had only contacted officers after hearing that Barugh, of Newholme Court, Guisborough, had been interviewed by police about another matter.

Mrs Dalton said the victim was “disgusted and upset” after seeing the video, while her sister and mother were “absolutely irate”.

A victim statement read out to the court said: “He had no right or authority to record. I feel disgusted at what he has done.

“I am concerned as to why he did it, and what he planned to use it for.”

Barugh has no previous convictions, and was not charged after being interviewed by police earlier this year “on a completely dissimilar charge”, confirmed his solicitor.

Mr Watson told the court that at the time in 2010 Barugh was in a “difficult place” but in the five years since the offence he had got a degree and found full-time employment.

He said: “He has put to one side the problems he faced and has moved on. He shows remorse.”

Barugh had admitted the offence when arrested by police, and pleaded guilty to voyeurism.

Magistrates said the offence was so serious it could have attracted a custodial sentence, but due to his mitigation they had decided they could impose an 18 month community order with 18 months supervision by the probation service.

Barugh will also be on the sexual offenders register for the next five years.