March 2019

Waltham Abbey man caught in Tesco after taking hundreds of photographs up female’s skirts

An elderly ‘upskirter’ took hundreds of photographs of female’s underwear because he “had a fetish for legs”.

64-year-old Martin Behan was finally caught in Tesco when he placed a camera phone up the skirt of a woman shopping in the fruit and vegetable aisle.

He obtained so many pictures in his vile ‘upskirting’ career that he needed memory cards to store them on, and one photo could have been of a ‘schoolgirl’.   

The victim was inside Tesco on the evening of August 23 in Waltham Abbey. While she was in the fruit and vegetable aisle, she felt something brush the back of her leg.

She looked around and could see Behan crouching over with his hand in between her legs. He had his phone under her dress.

She was in complete shock, to the point where she couldn’t believe it was happening.

The woman asked Behan if he was taking a photograph of her and he denied it.

She then asked him to give her his mobile phone and he did. The victim then went to security, handed them the phone. They saw the defendant attempting to leave, which is when security detained him and police were called.

Upskirting is the act of making unauthorised photographs under a woman’s skirt or man’s kilt, capturing an image of the crotch area, underwear or genitalia. An upskirt is a photograph, video or illustration which incorporates an image made by upskirting.

It recently became a criminal offence in the UK in January 2019, where the maximum sentence for a crime is up to two years in prison.

Behan stood in the dock at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, March 5) where the court heard of how his actions had impacted the victim.

She said it still affects her and she is ‘looking over her shoulder’.

When the ‘upskirter’ was interviewed, he claimed the victim ‘had her legs out’, which he liked because he used to see prostitutes with stockings and tights, as it is his fetish.

He also said that when he saw the woman with her ‘legs out’ in the supermarket, he wanted to take a picture of them.

Police interviewed him and he was placed on bail, but called him in for questioning again on February 6, 2019, because they discovered hundreds of photographs and videos on two mobile phones and a number of memory cards.

Behan claims that he only took photographs of women over the age of 18, however, one picture highlighted could have been of a girl in a school uniform.

Defending the serial ‘upskirter’, Andrew Clowser told the court that Behan pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and cooperated with police. He said his “behaviour was highly reckless”.

Mr Clowser then explained the 64-year-old has been working for four years after having difficulty securing employment, and that he is in a relationship with an older woman who knows nothing about the offence.

In 2003, he was sentenced for one count of making an indecent image or pseduo-image of a child, where he filmed a 15-year-old female child getting in and out of the bath by planting a secret camera in the bathroom.

Martin Behan, of Winters Way, Waltham Abbey, was sentenced to a 36-month community order for two counts of outraging public decency.

He was ordered to complete up to 35 hours of a sexual offender’s behaviour programme, 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days as well as to pay a total of £405 of court courts, including, a victim surcharge and court costs.