A ‘Peeping Tom’ hid in a swimming pool changing room cubicle and recorded a mother and her nine-year-old daughter getting dressed, a court heard.
Paul Norman Cantor, 46, of Napier Road, Luton, was caught by the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after she spotted his hand holding a mobile phone beneath a bench.
He was spying on them from the cubicle behind the one they were sharing in the unisex changing rooms at Hitchin Swimming Pool, but fled after realising he’d been spotted.
Giving evidence at Stevenage Magistrates Court, the mother said: “My daughter put her head down with her hair over her head to dry it with a towel and she got my attention.
“There was a hand underneath the bench with a mobile phone. It was held with the screen up and they were holding it in the palm of their hand.
“I screamed ‘Excuse me,’ very loud and the hand disappeared very quickly under the bench.”
The mother continued to tell the court that she quickly wrapped and towel around herself and walked around the cubicles to see if she could see anybody.
She told the court the hand with the phone had come from the cubical directly behind the one she and her daughter were occupying.
Police were notified of the incident which happened on March 5 and managed to track Cantor down from CCTV footage.
He was arrested two weeks later.
Cantor pleaded not guilty to recording someone doing a private act for his own sexual gratification without their consent and chose to remain silent during his trial.
However he told police in questioning that he had travelled by bus from Luton to Hitchin and had an upset stomach.
He said he went into the swimming pool to use the toilets and went inside a cubicle because “he felt that he was going to soil himself”.
Defending Peter Lovegrove said: “The witness does not identify anybody. The CCTV footage does not prove he did anything.
“It is not for my client to prove his innocence, it is for the prosecution to prove the case.
“You have to be absolutely certain that he is guilty.”
Prosecuting Jessica Deuchar played the CCTV footage to the court and pointed out that Cantor was on the opposite side of the room to the toilets in the footage.
In their verdict, the magistrates said to Cantor: “You visited five cubicles before going to the toilets. These are hardly the actions of someone with an upset stomach.
“There are toilets upstairs that could have been used, which begs the question, why go downstairs? We are satisfied you are guilty of recording a private act.”
Cantor was jailed for six months.
He was also banned from going to any unisex or female changing rooms in England and Wales.
He must pay £300 in fines and has been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ register.