August 2011

Watford camera ban sex offender Martin Rodrigues sentenced

A sex offender took photographs of girls from his bedroom window in Watford, despite a court ban, a judge has heard.

Martin Rodrigues, 42, of The Ridgeway, had been banned due to previous convictions “but could not help himself”, St Albans Crown Court heard.

He appeared in court and admitted breaching a sexual offences prevention order, his third breach since 2009.

Rodrigues was given a three-year community order.

He must attend a sex offenders treatment programme and abide by a police tracking programme and not be drunk in a public place.

Photography ‘obsession’

The court heard officers raided his mother’s home, also in Watford, in December last year and seized memory sticks, a computer hard drive and a mobile phone.

Photographs of girls, some of whom were in school uniform, were found in deleted files, the court heard.

Rodrigues was convicted in 2000 for a  indecent assault on a girl, aged under 16 in Liverpool

In 2005, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a girl aged under 13 and in 2007 he was convicted of breaching his community order due to taking photographs of females under 18-years-of-age in a park.

Defence barrister Daniel O’Mally said Rodrigues initially claimed he was obsessed with photography and had not gained sexual gratification, but now accepted that was not the case.

Judge Martin Griffith warned Rodrigues he would face a prison sentence if he breached the order again.

He must not possess a phone with a camera or approach any girl, have girls in his home or go within 100m of schools.

April 2009

Sex offender caught by Crimewatch

A WATFORD man caught after an appeal on the BBC Crimewatch programme has been jailed for breaching a sexual offences prevention order by taking pictures of young girls.

Martin Rodriguez, 39, was made the subject of the order which banned him taking photographs of anyone under the age of 18 after he pestered young girls in Cassiobury Park and photographed them.

That public nuisance conviction in January 2007 meant he had breached a previous order imposed in 2005 for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in the town. On that occasion he approached two girls at a bus stop and asked if he could take a picture of himself on top of one of them.

He also touched her and asked them to walk over cameras he placed on the ground so that he could take pictures.

Rodriguez also has a previous conviction for indecent assault in Liverpool in 2000, when he was given a two-year probation order.

In 1993 he was jailed for nine months for GBH and has a drink drive conviction.

An appeal was made on the BBC’s crime program when Rodriguez was caught on CCTV acting suspiciously and taking pictures.

He was identified and when police went to his home in Queens Road, Watford, they found pictures he had taken of young girls – which he is banned from doing under the five-year court order.

Rodriguez admitted breaching the order, despite saying in a police interview after arrest in December, he was unsure of the conditions of the sexual offences prevention order.

He told police he had a small camera he took with him and if he saw a female he liked the look of he would take their picture.

Rodgriguez has already been banned from working with children and must sign the sex offenders register.

Rodriguez, who changed his name from that of his adoptive mother, Spiers, has traced his half brother, who sat in the public gallery to offer his support.

The financial advisor from Watford, who is of good character, was willing to help his relative, the court heard, and provide him with accommodation.

Judge Michael Baker jailed Rodriguez for eight months and imposed a further five-year sexual offences prevention order, under the same terms, prohibiting taking pictures of anyone under the age of 18.

Judge Baker said: “You were arrested after the Crimewatch program and found to have a number of photographs in your possession which was a breach of the 2007 order.

“You behaviour is unfortunately compulsive and you are resistant to treatment on the sex offenders programme. This is too serious for anything apart from a custodial sentence.”

Rodriguez will serve half his sentence before release on licence.

He will be out of prison in a matter of weeks after 76 days spent on remand were ordered to count towards the sentence.