Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Holiday cottage voyeur is jailed


Inside the holiday home where David Sturgess spied on people

A man has been jailed for more than two years for setting up secret cameras to spy on people renting his cottage.

David Sturgess, 54, was found guilty of 12 charges of voyeurism and three of taking indecent images of children at a trial last month.

Swansea Crown Court heard Sturgess hid four cameras in fake smoke alarms to film guests undressing, showering and having sex at Llandysul, Ceredigion.

Sturgess was also disqualified from working with children.

Jailing him for 30 months, Judge Keith Thomas said the offences were a gross intrusion into people's privacy and they were rightly devastated.

He added: "This was private accommodation which people had paid you to rent out for family holidays and they were entitled to a degree of privacy which you invaded."

At a trial last month, the jury heard some of those filmed by Sturgess were under 18.

Sturgess showed some reluctance to face the cameras as he left court

The court was told he had converted a farm outbuilding into a three-star holiday cottage and bought a network of hidden cameras and video recorders.

Sturgess hid four cameras in fake smoke alarms to film guests.

His former partner, Teresa Crick, had told the court how he set up a secret camera system to spy on holidaymakers staying next door to their own property.

He advertised the cottage for £400-a-week on the internet and was backed in the venture by the Welsh Tourist Board.

Ms Crick, 51, said Sturgess, originally from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, would watch a TV monitor showing their naked guests.

She reported him to the police after they split up.

The victims were 10 females and two males - with three under the age of 18.

The jury heard that the covert cameras were able to zoom in on people as they showered, used the toilet, undressed and had sex.

After last month's verdict, the court was told Sturgess had previous convictions for indecent assault and battery.

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