Pervert upskirter with 400 videos avoids jail

MILITARY veteran Michael Thornhill served his country.

But now the former pillar of society, aged 54 from Fratton, has brought shame on himself and was branded '˜disgusting' by a judge for filming videos up the skirts of unsuspecting women.

Thornhill's dirty secret was exposed to the world at Portsmouth Crown Court when he admitted having 400 '˜upskirting' videos of women who were none the wiser to his sordid antics that stretched back years.

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The defendant, of St Stephens Road, appeared before the court impeccably dressed in a navy suit.

Admitting five charges of public indecency, Thornhill was spared jail by the narrowest of margins by judge Robert Hill, who said he would have thrown Thornhill behind bars but for the fact he had not offended during the last year while the legal process had been ongoing.

Thornhill's insatiable desire to record videos up women's skirts without their knowledge eventually caught up with him while he was attempting to capture yet another victim in Primark, Commercial Road, in May last year.

'˜There was a woman shopping in the store when she bent over to look at some items.

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'˜The defendant then bent over pretending to look at something before placing his phone underneath her skirt to record,' prosecutor Jonathan Atkinson said.

'˜The woman's daughter was stood nearby and saw what was happening and tried to grab the phone but he had deleted the video.'

Despite being caught out on that occasion, Thornhill did not let it deter him from his deviant exploits and just one month later was back at it again in Primark. 

'˜Security came and took the defendant away after watching him on CCTV recording up a women's skirt who had no idea what was happening,' Mr Atkinson said.

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When the lady found out what had  taken place, she confessed: '˜I felt scared and disgusted and had no idea he was doing it.'

After being arrested police went to his address where they searched his computer and found more than 400 upskirting videos.

Thornhill's perversion was laid bare when officers found countless albums with titles such as '˜Best of 2015'.

Videos stretched back as far as 2015 through to 2017.

Judge Hill branded Thornhill a '˜disgusting' upskirter before imposing a 12-month prison term suspended for two years, a prohibitive activity order, 20 rehabilitation days, as well as a five-year order not to possess or own a digital device or phone with a camera on it.

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'˜You have been prolific in upskirting surreptitiously and secretively by recording videos of women who were strangers to you,' judge Hill said.

He added: '˜In your case it is the sheer volume you have been indulging in that makes it more serious.

'˜And while the offences are so serious they cross the custody threshold my main concern is to make sure you do not do it again especially as your compulsion has clearly been beyond your control.'