April 2022

Pervert filming schoolgirl in bath exposed as iPhone hidden in ‘have a nice day’ picture started vibrating

A peeping Tom made a secret recording device out of a photo frame and hid it in a bathroom to watch a teenage girl undress has avoided prison.

Pervert William McGhee, 54, drilled a spy hole in the frame – which contained a picture saying ‘Have a nice day’ – and taped an iPhone to the back to watch the girl as she was taking a bath.

But Burnley Crown Court heard the horrified youngster discovered the phone when she heard notification alerts causing it to buzz while she was in the shower. She removed the phone and deleted the footage before McGhee had a chance to look at it, the court heard.

“This was an extremely serious offence of voyeurism”, said Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC, sentencing.

Daniel Calder, prosecuting, told the court that before he committed the offence McGhee sent the girl numerous sexualised messages, calling her ‘tart’ and making comments about her body.

She also discovered photographs of her chest which he had taken without her knowledge.

When confronted, McGhee claimed to have set it up to find out who had been urinating on the bathroom floor – an account Recorder Clarke said was “ludicrous”.

McGhee, of Mayfield Avenue, Haslingden, maintained his denials and forced the girl to face the difficult process of being cross examined in court. But in the face of “overwhelming evidence” he later admitted the offence.

As a result, his victim said she suffered depression and anxiety and had difficulties at school. McGhee’s wife, who sat through the trial and heard his confessions, is standing by him. After hearing the allegations against her husband she told numerous people the girl was lying, causing further hurt to the teenager, the court heard

Sentencing, Recorder Clarke QC said: “You were a sexual predator who decided this girl was attractive to you, despite the large disparity in your ages and her only being a schoolgirl. You began by making inappropriate remarks, demonstrating your sexual interest in her. You discussed the possibility of her being a model and making inappropriate comments about her body.

“You then took the opportunity to place video camera equipment which was available on your mobile phone into a position in a bathroom. This was something you had clearly thought about and planned. You had already drilled a peep hole, knowing that you could tape a phone to the back of the frame, aligning the recording equipment with the hole. I have no doubt you had tested it to make sure it would record what you wanted to see.

“She was having a bath, but fortunately incoming calls or text messages alerted her to the fact there was such a device. I have no doubt you deliberately turned it to silent and it didn’t ring, but as it vibrated it made a noise.

“She found that mobile phone and it was obvious what it was and what it was doing. She would have been alarmed and distressed by its presence. She was desperate to see what it was and obliterate it from the memory, and her memory, as far as she could.

“I have read her victim impact statement. This has clearly had a massive effect on her. It has blighted her childhood and her happiness. “

Recorder Clarke QC said the case was so serious it must be marked by a custodial sentence, but added: “If you were to go straight to prison you would be released at the half way point of your sentence. In my view that won’t punish you enough.”

He sentenced McGhee to 12 months suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.

He also ordered him to pay £1,500 compensation to his victim and £1,500 prosecution costs at a rate of £200 per month, so he would be punished for a long period of time.

He made a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and an indefinite restraining order to protect his victim.