Paedophile who took upskirt pictures of children in Piccadilly Gardens walks free from court
An already convicted paedophile who secretly took pictures up young girls’ skirts in Piccadilly Gardens has walked free from court.
Gordon Dreghorn, 48, brazenly walked around the iconic city centre spot with a camera and managed to take pictures of the youngsters’ underwear – one of whom was only four years of age.
However, he was not sent to prison as a judge said Dreghorn, who was himself ‘horrifically’ abused as a child, ‘needed help.’
He was arrested and hauled before the courts in August after he was spotted hanging around Piccadilly Gardens – an area popular with parents and children as it has a playground and fountains.
However, Dreghorn, from Accrington in Lancs, aroused the suspicions of some members of the public who were ‘concerned about his activities’ and tipped off police officers in the area, William Donnelly, prosecuting, told Manchester Crown Court.
CCTV operators began watching him and he was seen to walk away and ‘conceal’ something by stuffing it into his sock, Mr Donnelly said.
Officers followed him and he was stopped and searched and a memory card from a camera was found inside his sock.
He was arrested and the memory card and his phone were seized.
On the memory card a photo of an unidentified girl, said to be aged between nine and 10, was found.
She appeared to be tying her shoelace and it was taken at an angle up her skirt, Mr Donnelly said.
On the phone a similar photo was found, but of a much younger girl, around four years-old.
He was charged, and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two charges of taking indecent images of children.
He was previously sentenced to three years in prison in 2003 after being convicted of taking and distributing indecent images of children the previous year.
However, Judge Martin Rudland said the fact these two images were in the lowest category of seriousness meant his latest conviction did not cross the custody threshold.
Judge Rudland revealed Dreghorn himself suffered ‘horrific’ abuse as a child which was ‘persistent and peverse.’
He said: “It’s little wonder your attitudes to women and relationships, normal sexual development and social interaction have been contaminated, and it is little wonder you have ended up committing offences of this kind.
“Whatever was the driver for you loosening your inhibitions on this occasion, you were surreptitious in your capturing of these images.
“These children were blissfully unaware of what you were undertaking and they have been caused no harm by it. The images were immediately seized.
“You need assistance. And you need assistance in dealing with the dreadful legacy that your childhood abuse has had on you.”
He was sentenced to a three year community order where he will have to take part in a number of probation service treatments and rehabilitation programmes.
He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention, which contains a number of rules around his access to children, and access to the Internet etc, for five years.