Sunday 19 January 2020

Primary school teacher jailed for using spy pen to film pupils in toilet

Alexandra Sims

A primary school head teacher who filmed children and adults using the toilet has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Ashley Yates filmed nine boys and girls, as well as adults, with a spy camera pen he hid in the toilets at The Tynings Primary School in Staple Hill, Bristol.

The 45-year-old, who is married with two children, cried throughout his hearing at Bristol Crown Court where he confessed to six counts of voyeurism and three of making indecent images.

Kerry Barker, prosecuting, said Yates’ actions were discovered on 24 June when a pupil found the spy camera in a disabled toilet at the school and handed it to member of staff.

Ashley Yates who has been jailed for using a spy pen to film youngsters and adults using the toilet PA
Ashley Yates who has been jailed for using a spy pen to film youngsters and adults using the toilet PA

It was passed on to a caretaker who found it contained a lens and microchip. The matter was then reported to the deputy head.

The court heard the spy pen was able to record for 15 minutes and on the memory card images were found of children using the disabled toilet.

Mr Baker said Yates had become “obsessed with urination” following an operation in which he suffered a perforated bladder.

"His intention had been to film adults, not children, but he understood that he would have picked up children using the toilet.

The court heard he described himself as a “sexual monster” to his wife and in total filmed 22 adults and nine children.

Yates has been head of the school since 2008 and had worked at there since 2005.

The spy pen used by Yates (Avon and Somerset Police)
The spy pen used by Yates (Avon and Somerset Police)

A key logger attached to a keyboard in Mr Yates’ office was later discovered, said Mr Baker.

The device secretly records key strokes in order to covertly discover someone’s username and password.

Yates used the device to log onto the social media accounts, including Facebook of two children.

"Why Mr Yates accessed those social media accounts is not known," Mr Barker said.

Yates also destroyed several hard drives and discs from computers at his home. They had been so badly damaged IT expects have been unable to recover the contents.

DI Louise Boyce of Avon and Somerset Police said: “Yates totally abused his position of trust to feed his own personal desires.

“He set up the recording device in a toilet knowing that both children and adults would be using the facilities.

“I have no doubt that Yates’ crimes will have a lasting impact on his victims and their parents. All have received specialised support and will continue to do so as long as they require it.

“This has been a complex investigation and one which we have worked closely with partner agencies.

“I hope this case emphasises our dedication to robustly investigating crimes effectively and with our partners."

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