A pervert with a “leg fetish” has been jailed after ‘upskirting’ numerous women and young girls in a Mold supermarket.
The court heard the pervert had”surprisingly” been cautioned for 14 offences of making indecent images in 2008, but had no convictions on his file.
Ian Betts, of Celyn Park in Carmel, appeared at Mold Crown Court for sentence on Tuesday morning.
The 61-year-old admitted numerous offences including: eight of recording under clothing (a form of voyeurism also referred to as upskirting), three of making indecent images, four of taking indecent images, one of possessing prohibited images and two of attempted upskirting.
In 2021, a shopper in Tesco Mold spotted Betts acting suspiciously – standing behind a young female wearing a skirt with his mobile in his hand.
The court heard Betts bent over towards her and pointing the phone between the girl’s legs when the screen lit up.
David Mainstone, prosecuting, said the shopper took hold of the defendant and alerted the girl’s parent, as well as store staff, as to what he’d been doing.
When police attended, the phone was seized – as were a number of the defendant’s other devices.
Indecent images – 10 at category A, two at category B and 2,859 at category C – were found, as well as four prohibited images of children.
Officers also discovered he’d been “upskirting” on numerous previous occasions, with footage of several victims – both adult and child females wearing skirts or dresses.
Most of the recordings were made at Tesco in Mold, and by tracking the defendant’s use of his clubcard, police were able to obtain CCTV footage of his offending.
On one of the occasions – charged as attempted upskirting – he attempted to record under the clothes of two young girls in Mold town centre.
When interviewed by police, he expressed regret and said he’d “take responsibility” for his actions – which he attributed to an “obsessive compulsive disorder.”
Victim personal statements from parents of the victims were also read out.
One said she had not informed her daughter of what had happened for fear of causing her to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about what had happened to her.
“I couldn’t believe this man had been so brazen as to take pictures of my young daughter,” she said.
The court also heard a statement from one of the young victims, who said the offending had left her “paranoid” about where she went in public.
“I had so many questions going around in my head,” she said.
“Why me – what had he done with the photos?”
In another statement, a Tesco staff member said the store is seen as a “safe place,” and for “someone like this to come in and violate that makes me feel sick.”
Judge Rhys Rowlands said while the defendant’s case was thankfully not a common one, it was nevertheless a “particularly discomforting one” for the victims and their families, as well as the store as a whole.
The Judge said it demonstrated “repeated perverted behaviour” on the defendant’s part.
Betts was jailed for 33 months and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order, as well as registration as a sex offender, for ten years.
Judge Rowlands asked that a letter be sent to the Tesco customer who raised the alarm, thanking him for his public spirited actions, adding: “Had he not done so, this behaviour could have continued.”
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