Published: 17:00, 09 December 2016
| Updated: 17:15, 09 December 2016
An obsessive landlord set up a secret camera in the room of one of his tenants to spy on her for sexual gratification, a court heard.
Security conscious Naeem Lone had CCTV cameras at the front and rear of the Medway property and even one in the communal kitchen and one on a table in the hallway at the house.
But a female tenant was shocked to find another camera under the cushion of her sofa as she prepared for work one morning, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
Lone had filmed the woman when she was naked from the waist down and putting a sanitary towel into her knickers.
The 47-year-old care worker, of Palmerston Road, Chatham, denied two charges of voyeurism, claiming he did not plant the camera for sexual purposes, but was convicted on Friday.
Jailing him for 15 months, Judge Adele Williams told him: “You simply sought to excuse yourself and indulge in quite a bit of self-pity while doing so.
“This conduct was serious. The victim was observed and recorded in her own home. Her room should have been her private domain. You invaded her privacy.”
On the morning the woman discovered the camera she went to the shared bathroom to shower.
Prosecutor David Barnes said she did not lock her door because she was only out of her room briefly. She returned with just a towel on and dressed.
She went downstairs for breakfast and then returned to her room to get ready for work.
While she was sitting on her bed putting her make-up on she noticed a bright LED light coming from under the sofa cushions.
“She lifted the cushion and saw a small camera - the same as the camera she had seen in the communal areas of the premises,” Mr Barnes told the jury.
“She was very upset and shaken. She called the police. Police attended and seized the camera.”
When officers searched the house they found a laptop computer and external hard drive in the garden.
A mobile phone had no content because a factory reset had been carried out.
When arrested, Lone said there had been a lot going on in his life and he believed he was having a mental breakdown.
“I woke up this morning and something triggered in my brain,” he said. “I had that camera. My brain was telling me to pick it up and put it in my lodger’s room.
“It is connected to TV. It is not connected to anything else. It doesn’t record anything.”
Mr Barnes said the last claim was a half truth, as the camera could be recorded from.
Lone continued: “My brain was telling me: What you are doing is wrong. My brain was saying: Do this.”
He said he deleted files on his mobile phone because it contained sexual photos of his girlfriend and conversations he did not want anybody to see.
Mr Barnes said when the computer hard drive was examined about 300 images were found, some of which were just of Lone going about normal daily activities.
Lone said he just took photos of random things.
But Mr Barnes said of the tenant: “He wanted images of her naked, dressing and undressing when he put the camera in the bedroom.”
The woman said in a statement she knew Lone was conscious about security and thought he was “a genuinely nice person”.
She said of finding the camera: “I was very upset and shaken. It took me a moment to think about what was going on.”
As she moved out he told her: “I am sorry. I don’t know why I did it. It was a spur of the moment thing. Can you forgive me?”
She added: “He was asking me not to go through with it as it would wreck his career.”
Lone told police he had a habit of taking random photos of people as well as recording experiences of his life. He denied spying on people.
“I just keep a record of capturing people in movement of time,” he said. “This is a fascination. I appreciate human form. It is like people watching really.”
He said he did not think the lodger was attractive but added she was “decent and nice”.
Lone said he had recorded much of his life either through photos or in diary form since the age of 10.
Liam Loughlin, defending, said Lone had taken steps to address his behaviour by having counselling and psychotherapy.
“Perhaps his act on that day was out of character,” he told the judge. “He has now stopped this obsessive compulsive behaviour, including recording members of the public.
“He seems to have learnt his lesson. You might consider a suspended sentence. His risk is manageable in the community.
Judge Williams said Lone had been convicted on “clear and compelling evidence”.
“She discovered the covert camera and was extremely distressed,” said the judge.
“But her humiliation and feeling of degradation was increased when it was discovered the footage you had on your laptop was of her naked from the waist down putting a sanitary towel in her knickers and then pulling up her knickers and jeans.
“She must have been horrified to see that. You have sought to avoid responsibility for your conduct.
“You sought to remove responsibility by blaming your obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder you were no doubt suffering from at the time while under strain from looking after your mother, who was very ill.”
Lone’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register and a sexual harm prevention order was made, both for 10 years.
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