Bristol camera bag pervert caught filming up women's skirts in Cabot Circus
A MAN has admitted prowling Bristol's Cabot Circus shopping centre using a hidden camera to film up women's skirts.
Peter Hutchinson's plan, had he not been spotted by sharp-eyed security staff, was to sell the footage at £10 a time. Staff became suspicious as he walked around the centre with what appeared to be a foil-lined bag, Bristol Crown Court heard yesterday.
Police were called and arrested Hutchinson. They found a digital camera had been installed in his bag and set to film upwards. He had already filmed 10 video clips up women's skirts.
Hutchinson initially told police he was making the films for personal use and did not think what he was doing was wrong.
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But the court heard he then wrote to police saying he had "not been entirely truthful" and gave a second interview, in which he said he had money difficulties and was selling the footage for £10 a time.
The 44-year-old, of Newport in south Wales, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency and possessing cannabis.
Hutchinson had originally been charged with voyeurism, which under current sentencing guidelines could have seen him jailed, as he intended the footage to be circulated for commercial gain.
But at an earlier magistrates' court hearing it was decided to amend the charge and he avoided a prison term.
Paul Ricketts, prosecuting, told the court that at 5.15pm on September 1 last year security staff on duty at Cabot Circus noticed the defendant "acting suspiciously".
"He was carrying a bag that they suspected was foil-lined," said Mr Ricketts.
Police were called and Hutchinson made off along Broadmead before being detained in Union Street.
"His bag was searched and police found a digital video camera installed in a way to film upwards," said Mr Ricketts. "Police viewed footage and it showed he was capturing images up the skirts of ladies shopping in the street."
When police searched Hutchinson's home they found 87.3 grammes (about 3oz) of herbal cannabis.
Catherine Spedding, defending, said: "He pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity and admitted his involvement when interviewed.
"He was completely candid."
Ms Spedding said her client had no similar previous convictions, and he had been out of trouble for 23 years.
She said: "He normally works. He lost his job in 2008, which had a very significant effect on him and his finances, and led to depression."
Ms Spedding said the father-of-four had acted out of character, he accepted he had acted foolishly and there was a low likelihood of his being re-convicted.
Hutchinson, who was supported in court by his 18-year-old daughter, was given a three-year supervision order, including sex offender group work, which Recorder Oba Nsugbe QC strongly urged him to embrace.
Mr Nsugbe told him: "It was a curious, but serious spate of offences. To your credit you admitted wrongdoing and you wrote to police saying there was a commercial motivation to what you were doing."
The recorder ordered that the cannabis be destroyed and the bag, camera and footage confiscated.