December 2010

School worker who used hidden cameras to film up girls’ skirts is jailed

A SCHOOL worker who used hidden cameras to film up schoolgirls’ skirts and spy in the female teachers’ toilet, has been jailed for three years.

Former taxi driver Darren Elliott, of Kirkstead Crescent, Grimsby, placed “covert devices” around the Lincolnshire school, which cannot be identified for legal reasons, to record still and moving images for his own sexual gratification.

Among his victims were three teachers who were filmed for up to 40 seconds after Elliott, 36, set up a secret camera in the ladies toilet, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said: “The device was placed over the partition. It was very deliberate and very risky.”

The court was told Elliott also placed covert devices on the ground and under desks to take “upskirt” photos of pupils at the primary school.

At the same school, in Lincolnshire County Council’s jurisdiction, Elliott took shots up the skirts of three school workers, showing their legs and thighs. Mr Howes said: “While working as the caretaker, he used the covert devices to take photographs, both still and moving, of pupils, parent helpers and teachers.”

Despite other staff describing Elliott as “creepy” and remarking that he looked “flushed” after being seen leaving the ladies toilets, the married father-of-three, who had been employed at the school since May 2007, was only caught in February this year after a mobile phone was found hidden behind a mug in a cupboard.

“The member of staff looked at the phone and was shocked to see a naked torso,” Mr Howes told the court.

Police were called in after the discovery was reported to the head teacher. More than 350 indecent images of children were discovered on Elliott’s two mobile phones and on a memory card.

Victim impact statements from some of Elliott’s victims were read out in court.

In an emotional statement, one teacher revealed: “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about this. I just burst into tears.”

Another school worker said: “I just feel so violated by what he has done.”

Elliott, who had no previous convictions or cautions, had only been employed at the school after passing an enhanced criminal records check.

But some members of staff did admit they “felt uneasy around him” and had seen him “lurking” around the school when he should have been working.

Andrew Bailey, mitigating, told the court Elliott’s life was now in ruins.

Mr Bailey said: “His family have left him and his house is about to be repossessed.

He went to live with his mother but was forced to leave after she was harassed by gangs every night.”

Elliott was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life after he pleaded guilty to 16 sexual offences – including seven charges of voyeurism and one charge of outraging public decency.

Passing sentence, Judge Sean Morris told him: “Your victims by and large were young girls and teachers, that is an aggravating factor. It may be some comfort to them that it is virtually impossible to discern who they are.”

Judge Morris said anybody convicted of taking revenge on Elliott’s mother was likely to face a jail sentence.