Upskirting victim: it's a sexual violation of privacy and trust

Leah Winberg was 19 when she was secretly filmed by Barry Gillespie.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th October 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:38 pm
Leah Winberg
Leah Winberg

Living in Portsmouth she worked at jewellery store Fraser Hart in Gunwharf Quays when the former school caretaker used his covert camera to record footage up her skirt on December 29, 2016.

Leah, now 20, had no idea at the time.

Police had been able to identify her due to her work uniform after examining his camera after he was detained at the nearby Nike store as he tried to record more footage.

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When officers found her and told her what Gillespie had done, she was disgusted.

They told her he had pretended to tie his shoelaces when recording the footage, she said.

She told The News: ‘To think a man could do that to young girls, I can’t describe the anger really.

‘The level of perversion women go through on a daily basis – we want to feel safe at work but to have that taken away from us is awful.’

Now Leah, who lived in Portsmouth for two years, has added her voice to a campaign for upskirting to be made into a sex offence.

She said: ‘It’s a sexual violation of privacy and trust that you have with other members of the public.

‘And if you’re going to be that disgusting human being who violates that trust there are repercussions for such perverse and disgusting actions.

‘If that’s how you get your kicks then you need some sort of mental rehabilitation as it is a mental illness and there are those who do suffer with such thoughts but don’t act.

‘But for those who don’t have the restraint to ignore such urges and actually participate in such a thing there should first be a punishment and then rehabilitation.

‘The fine and punishment he received is absolutely nothing to have sympathy over.’

Leah has also criticised Gillespie, 53, of Fort Street, Sandown, Isle of Wight, being allowed out a side exit at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.

He appeared on Monday after admitting three charges of outraging public decency and received a community order and rehabilitation.

Leah said: ‘In all honesty with his fine he’s got off lightly and there’s a very high chance of recidivism with such a crime, I think in order for such a densely populated city such a Portsmouth he should be identified to the public in order to keep each other safe.

‘I’m not saying he should be heckled in the street but how would I feel, if I was to return to the city, shopping in Tesco, to have his man in the queue behind me, he probably knows full well who I am, with me none the wiser?

‘How am I meant to feel safe, how are these other 20-something girls he filmed, that don’t even know they’re victims, meant to feel when they’re at work, or walking home from school?’

Following the hearing police have urged anyone who think they may be one of the unidentified victims to get in touch.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘We take all allegations of offences of a sexual nature seriously and would encourage anyone with information or concerns regarding this type of offence to contact the police.

‘Anyone who has any concerns that they may too be a victim should contact us on 101.’