independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Man hid camera to spy on women in shower

A LAUNDRY man who installed a hidden camera in the shower of a ladies' locker room was caught after gardai found footage of him on the camera, a court has heard.

John Whelan (42) had 885 images of women stored on his laptop and filed in folders under the victims' names.

The camera was spotted by a female chef who was taking a shower. Whelan had moved it into the shower area from another location in a changing room where he had set it up six months earlier.

When gardai examined the camera, they found only footage of Whelan installing the device.

Whelan admitted using the camera to record the 885 images and 30 videos of the women undressing and in their underwear.

The victims were all catering staff, aged between 28 and 56, working at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

Whelan, of Farrenboley Park, Windy Arbour, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassment of eight women at the hospital between July 21, 2011, and January 5, 2012.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended a jail term of four years after noting that Whelan was the significant carer for his elderly, sick parents.

Garda Sergeant Colm O'Giollain told the court that Whelan was a contracted laundry worker and had access to the changing rooms.

The court heard Whelan had become obsessed with one woman and that he initially set the camera up in the changing room to get pictures of her.

There were eight sets of folders on his computer. Some of these contained videos ranging up to 24 minutes in length. One folder contained 416 images.

Typical folder names were: 'Little bit of bra', 'Experimental low shots' and 'Milf'.

The victims, who were previously on good terms with Whelan, said they felt betrayed and repulsed by his actions.

One of them was unable to socialise for six months and had made one attempt at suicide.

His barrister said Whelan was a single man who lived alone with his elderly parents and was the sole carer for his father, who has Alzheimer's.

At the time of the offences, his mother had had a stroke and Whelan was suffering from severe depression and anxiety.

The judge commented that it was not the normal reaction of a depressed man to go out and get a sophisticated camera to do all this.

Passing sentence, the judge said: "If it had gone on much longer and the photographs had been more explicit, my hand may have been forced, so Mr Whelan is very lucky."

Irish Independent

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