Potters Bar changing room pervert avoids prison sentence

PUBLISHED: 10:06 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:20 07 December 2017

The Furzefield Leisure Centre.

The Furzefield Leisure Centre.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

A man who used his phone to record a teenage couple changing at a Potters Bar leisure centre has been given a community order and made to pay costs of more than £700.

The Furzefield Leisure Centre.The Furzefield Leisure Centre.

A man who used his phone to record a teenage couple changing at a Potters Bar leisure centre has been given a community order and made to pay costs of more than £700.

Darrel Eaton, 39, of Rushfield, Potters Bar, was at Furzefield Leisure Centre on Tuesday, April 4 when he used his phone to record the teenagers under the door of their cubicle.

He pleaded not guilty to recording another person doing a private act for purposes of sexual gratification, but was found guilty at trial.

Prosecutor Miss S Malik, addressing magistrates at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Friday, December 2, said: “[The victims] finished swimming and exited the pool at around 5pm.

The Furzefield Leisure Centre.The Furzefield Leisure Centre.

“They changed in a cubicle.

“The girl was standing in her underwear and the boy went to put on his socks and found a mobile phone at the back of their cubicle in a person’s hand.

“He thought it was his own phone and he had dropped it, and a person was giving it back. He searched for his own phone and realised that it wasn’t.

“He saw that it was emitting some kind of light and flashing.

The Furzefield Leisure Centre.The Furzefield Leisure Centre.

“He tapped his girlfriend on the shoulder and they both then shouted ‘Why are you filming?’.”

After the teenagers shouted, Eaton was identified by staff at the leisure centre and asked to leave the cubicle.

A witness statement from the girl in the changing room stated: “At first I was shocked and didn’t know what was happening. I was worried a picture of me would go on the internet.”

No photos or videos of the teenagers changing were found on the phone.

The Furzefield Leisure Centre.The Furzefield Leisure Centre.

Kit Pung, defending Eaton, said: “Mr Eaton’s phone is still with police. There’s nothing else on the phone. He is a man of previous good character. He is still maintaining his innocence. In that aspect there’s not much mitigation I can put forward in relation to this offence.”

Magistrate Susan Coley, addressing Eaton in court, said: “Witnesses had to come into court to give evidence. The evidence they gave was compelling and the bench found you guilty.

“We are not going to send you to custody. The offence is serious enough to impose a high level community order.”

Eaton was given an 18 month community order with 14 rehabilitation requirement days, and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay fines of £620, with a victim surcharge of £85.

Following the court case, a spokesman for the leisure centre said: “An incident took place in April 2017, which was reported to staff at the time.

“This was immediately reported to police and the team provided active assistance during the investigation.

“Hertsmere Leisure takes these matters very seriously and are committed to ensuring the welfare, safety and security of all our visitors to the centre.”

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