WGC loner admits voyeurism
PUBLISHED: 17:02 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:12 26 October 2009
A MAN with an unhealthy interest in young girls took to wandering the streets of a town in the early hours dressed in a blond wig and woolly hat disguise. Mark Fitzpatrick would take with him indecent photos of youngsters and then undress to ogle them.
A MAN with "an unhealthy interest" in young girls took to wandering the streets of a town in the early hours dressed in a blond wig and woolly hat disguise.
Mark Fitzpatrick would take with him indecent photos of youngsters and then undress to ogle them.
For four years Fitzpatrick, who was a road sweeper, would be regularly out prowling the streets of WGC late at night.
But his activities came to light when a woman woke up early one morning last August and spotted the 40-year-old acting suspiciously outside.
She saw him again over the next two days at the same time and eventually police nabbed him.
At St Albans Crown Court today (Thursday) Fitzpatrick, of Thundridge Close, WGC, pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing indecent photographs of a child and six offences of making indecent photographs of a child.
After his arrest, police went to his home where they found a total of 433 indecent images of young girls aged between 10 and 12.
He also had three video films of youngsters which he had downloaded from the internet.
David Chrimes, prosecuting, told how on August 6 last year a woman living in New Wood woke early at 5am and looked outside her flat to see the defendant.
He was near a children's play area and appeared to be looking at some flats.
She noticed he had strawberry blond hair under a woolly hat and was acting furtively, constantly looking about him and pulling up his collar to cover his face.
The woman contacted the police but, by the time they arrived, he had gone.
She spotted him again the next morning at 5am and this time an officer arrived, only to lose him in a chase.
But on the third morning he had been spotted, the same officer was in the area in anticipation that he might show up, and collared him.
Told he was being arrested for voyeurism, the defendant replied: "I just can't help it. I am just getting into voyeurism."
Mr Chrimes said he was wearing a strawberry blond wig and woolly hat and he also had a laminated A4 size sheet of paper which contained indecent pictures of young girls aged between 10 and 12.
Back at his home, officers found more indecent images on his computer and on a memory stick.
Interviewed by cops, Fitzpatrick said he would go out at least twice a week in the early hours.
He told officers he would wear the wig and hat as a disguise and, away from prying eyes, would fondle himself.
"He accepted that what he did was wrong and he was disgusted by his actions," said Mr Chrimes.
He said the defendant told officers he had first been interested in adult porn on the internet, but had been directed towards child porn through pop-ups.
The court was told Fitzpatrick was a man of no previous convictions.
Gerard Boyd, defending, described his client as an "isolated man" who was single and lonely.
He said Fitzpatrick was in need of help and now felt deeply ashamed.
Judge Michael Baker sentenced Fitzpatrick to a three year community order with supervision.
He also ordered that he attend a sexual offence treatment programme.
He told him: "You are a very shy man who has led a solitary life and have developed an unhealthy sexual interest in images of young girls which you have downloaded and collected."
In addition to the three year community order, the judge said he was making a sexual offences prevention order preventing Fitzpatrick from using any computer software which destroys or deletes internet history or activities or encrypts data.
The order will also prohibit the defendant from having any contact with a female under 16.
He was also told he must not possess a photograph of any child under 16 and he was told he must not loiter in any public place.
In addition, Fitzpatrick was not allowed to be out alone in public between midnight and 6am.
He was also told he will not be allowed to disguise his identity in a public place.
He was told he cannot work with children and his name will be on the sex offenders' register for the next five years.
In addition, Fitzpatrick will have to pay £500 towards the prosecution's costs.