A woman who was covertly filmed under her dress by a former government lawyer as she travelled on the tube felt “incredibly violated” by the experience, a British court has heard.
Daren Timson-Hunt, 54, of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, used his mobile phone to take the footage of the victim as she made her way to a job interview.
He was caught secretly filming by a police inspector also travelling on the tube who noticed his suspicious behaviour and alerted his victim.
Timson-Hunt was handed a 24-month community order at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, becoming the fourth man to be convicted under a new law against upskirting.
In a statement read out at his sentencing hearing, the victim said: “I felt incredibly violated, I find it very intrusive that he could do this and it left me feeling extremely annoyed and made me lose focus for my interview.”
She said the incident had “changed my behaviours” and she had not worn “any dress or skirt” since, which “considering the the recent weather this has left me upset”.
The victim added that she feared the incident happening again and now had reservations about using public transport.
Timson-Hunt had previously admitted one count of operating equipment beneath the clothing of another without consent.
The charge against the married father-of-one stated he used a mobile phone “for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification” at central London’s Embankment underground station.
Prosecutor Katie Bryan told the court that Timson-Hunt’s victim was travelling on the Circle and District line at 9.25am towards Embankment station.
In her carriage, police inspector Pete Scottow observed Timson-Hunt next to his victim and “had his phone in between his legs with his thumb resting on the edge of the device”.
The inspector was aware that buttons on phone edges could be used to take images and he saw Timson-Hunt “using pressure being applied by his thumb, raising and pushing the button around four to five times”.
The victim, Timson-Hunt and the inspector disembarked at Embankment, with the defendant observed standing “close behind” her on the stairs.
Ms Bryan said Mr Scottow approached the victim saying “excuse me I’m an inspector of Scotland Yard, I think this man has been taking pictures of you”.
The inspector confronted a “shocked” Timson-Hunt about his actions, who admitted what he had done and was arrested.
The court heard he had said: “I don’t know why I did it, I’ve never done anything like this before, is this something I can take a caution for?”.
Two videos taken of the victim found by police showed Timson-Hunt had filmed “up her dress”, Ms Bryan explained.
Mitigating, Nicholas Ornstin said Timson-Hunt’s life had been “completely destroyed by his actions on that day”.
He said Timson-Hunt, who has a 10-year-old child, had no previous convictions and offered his “complete and unconditional apology to the victim in this case”.
Mr Ornstin claimed the defendant’s marriage was “on the rocks” and it was “touch and go” whether his wife would stay with him.
Sentencing, chair of the bench Anne Boda said the case was an “extremely unpleasant incident”, adding that “had it not been for the presence of mind of inspector Scottow this offence would have gone undetected”.
She said the offence had a “long-lasting affect on the victim”, who had become hesitant about using public transport.
Timson-Hunt, wearing a dark suit and blue shirt and tie, calmly stared ahead of him as the details of his sentence were announced.
Earlier, as he arrived to court, he was twice captured by gathered press photographers as he struggled to enter the building.
Timson-Hunt was given a community order that will run for 24 months until September 25, 2021.
The order contains three requirements: the completion of a 35-day programme requirement, 30 days rehabilitation activity and 60 hours unpaid work.
He was ordered to join the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years and must also pay £175 in court costs and victim surcharge.
A Department for International Trade spokesman confirmed Timson-Hunt was a government lawyer before resigning from the department in August 2019 to take up a post with another organisation.
“We have no record of any concerns having been raised,” the spokesman said.
- Press Association