Police officer jailed over ‘horrible, perverted’ crimes inside toilet cubicles
A Coventry-based police officer who recorded strangers using toilet cubicles in shopping centres across the Midlands for his “own sexual desire” has been jailed.
The judge told Alexander Hindmarsh he “should have known better” as he sentenced him for the ‘horrible’ crimes.
The 32-year-old, now resigned from West Midlands Police, ‘threw away’ his aspirations of becoming an inspector at the force as he was caught out for his campaign of voyeurism.
Across a two year period, off-duty Hindmarsh used his mobile phone over the top of cubicles to record unknown men ‘masturbating, urinating and showering’, Birmingham Crown Court was told.
He tried to claim the offences were acts of so-called ‘gay cruising’ – or consensual voyeurism – with people he had spoken to on Grindr.
However this was rejected by Judge Dean Kershaw – who said Hindmarsh had told “lie after lie” as he explained one victim was ‘showering with his back to him’ in the video.
The former police officer, who was being fast tracked to become an inspector, pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism – one of which included over 20 recordings and images.
There had been ‘multiple victims’, the court heard, but he sometimes captured the same men. Offences also took place in Cannock and Hopwood Park services.
One victim detained Hindmarsh after he caught him filming inside the toilets of Coventry’s Cannon Park Shopping Centre.
Hindmarsh, who initially claimed the recordings were ‘consensual’, was seen “trying to escape and get away”, the court heard.
Hindmarsh was jailed for 19 months at Birmingham Crown Court today (WED) and was also added to the sex offender’s register for 10 years.
The court heard his offences were aggravated by his role as a police officer.
Sentencing Hindmarsh, the judge said: “It is clear from the outset of this case the recordings were done for your sexual gratification; that was the purpose of why you chose to do it.
“The second count includes a vast number of recordings, people who were unknown to you, people in public toilets showering or similar to that. I have watched each and every one of the exhibits that have been uploaded to this case. I imagine the reason the crown have not played these is because of the nature. Naked parts of bodies are squared out, you do see people’s faces.
“It is obvious, absolutely obvious that these people are not consenting – they are clearly going about their business and your own reaction of how you then pull the video away and you can be seen on the same video exiting the area.”
He stressed the maximum sentence for the offences would be one of two years imprisonment during sentencing. He added: “Voyeurism and offences like this that you have committed, they have an affect on people. Because they are often referred to as non contact offences, that does not mean that there are no victims.
“You are – or were as you have resigned now – a police officer who would have gone and eventually become an inspector. Of course that would never have been the case if people knew that, for two years you had been engaging in this kind of conduct.
“You have first hand knowledge of how crimes affect victims of crime. Your crimes have consequences and you should have known better. You thought when you were committing these crimes you would never get caught, you didn’t believe anyone would ever have found out that’s why you continued to do it for so long.
“You gave an account that wasn’t true. You talked about gay cruising and consensual voyeurism. It is plain that this is not between two men cruising each other in a public place.”
Judge Kenshaw added: “You are 32-years-old, you were employed in a job that you tried really hard to get that you were hoping that you could then progress. It is one of the things that makes it so sad – and so difficult – to understand why you would run the risk of throwing it all away, which is what has happened.”
Hindmarsh had no previous convictions and was previously of “outstanding character”, volunteering, acting as a chair of governors at a children’s charity and providing safeguarding in his role as a PC to a high standard. “But that has all stopped by way of your own sexual desire and perversion,” added the judge.
“These offences are often not found out and often not investigated, such is the secret nature of these horrible acts.”