Update: Although Paul Gower told the court that he lives in Kilmarnock, he does also spend time in another family home in Wakes Colne, Colchester
Pervert caught with child sexual abuse images
A married father who spent a visit to London filming up female’s skirts has avoided jail after a court heard his wife is to stand by him.
Paul Gower, 43, was seen on CCTV using his mobile phone on an escalator after following his victims around Topshop on London’s Oxford Street.
His phone contained three other similar videos filmed a few days before while his laptop contained around 30 more upskirt videos.
Police also found a cache of more than 450 still and moving images, some of them in Category A, the most serious category, of children as young as seven years old.
The court heard that his wife is planning to stay with Gower at the home in Kilmarnock they share with their two children but reaction among their friends had been ‘mixed.’
Gower admitted public indecency and four counts of possession of indecent images at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 8 December and was committed to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing
He walked free from court after he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.
Sukwinder Dhadda, prosecuting, said: ‘The first matter stems out of an incident on 21 August 2015 at Topshop on Oxford Street around about 2:30 in the afternoon.
‘He was seen as acting rather suspiciously by CCTV operators, who observed he was looking at female customers rather than looking at any specific items in the store.
‘The defendant was then seen to be following a female and her friend travelling on the escalator and seen to use his mobile phone to film beneath the female’s skirt.
‘He left the store and was stopped by security. He was taken to the police station and his mobile phone and laptop were interrogated by police. ‘They found three upskirt videos on his phone.
The videos lasted around 20 seconds or so.
He accepted he took them either two or three days before. ‘The defendant was very candid and open during the course of his interview.
He fully admitted downloading the videos and using his mobile phone to film up females’ skirts. ‘He said it was not for sexual gratification, more for curiosity.
Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Goymer said: ‘There can be few tasks more disagreeable for a judge than sentencing a man such as you for offences such as these.
‘You are married with children and you were in a good job, no doubt earning a good income for your family. ‘Despite all that, you have chosen to commit these offences, which have brought shame upon you and, no doubt, though they are wholly innocent of it, shame on your family as well.
‘I find it difficult to speak in moderation of the contempt that one feels for anyone who engages in the act of upskirt photographing. ‘That, if it stood by itself, is contemptible.
But it became apparent you have been downloading indecent images of children. ‘Whether or not it started with low grade images and they all came as part of a package makes no difference at all as far as I’m concerned.
‘People such as you need to understand very clearly that this is not a victimless offence.
‘They think because they are not involved in touching children, they are not responsible for it. ‘But, somewhere in the world, a child is being abused and violated to produce these horrible images that people such as you seem to derive enjoyment from.
‘You are indeed very fortunate that your wife appear prepared to stand by you.
‘You are very fortunate also that your friends, whose son you are godfather to, will also stand by you as well. ‘One could understand how they would want nothing more to do with you as they could not trust you in the company of their children.
‘I am just persuaded to suspend the sentence, but I can tell you the gap is so narrow you would not see daylight through it.’
Gower, of Dumgoyne Road, Bellfield, Kilmarnock, admitted one count of public indecency and four counts of possession of indecent images.
He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.
He must also pay £250 costs. ends