A prolific upskirter has been spared jail after he admitted taking pictures under 250 women’s skirts, using a GoPro camera hidden in his shoe.
Richard Whyley, 32, took more than 6,400 images while following women as they went shopping in Worcestershire between 26 June and 15 August, 2019.
The university worker and engineer also secretly filmed women getting undressed in their homes as well as one couple having sex.
Upskirting itself became a specific criminal offence in April 2019 after a high-profile campaign by writer Gina Martin, who spent months fighting for legislation to criminalise the act after two men took a picture up her skirt at a festival.
The maximum sentence for upskirting is two years in prison for the most severe cases.
Whyley was spared jail after being sentenced to a three-year community order at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.
It came after he admitted to voyeurism as well as recording an image under clothing and operating equipment without consent.
During the sentencing, Judge Martin Jackson told the 32-year-old: “There was a significant degree of planning, in particular the use of the GoPro camera and adaptation of footwear enabling you to place it inside the footwear so it could be used.”
Jackson later added: “I don’t think you really truly understand the impact of your offending on her or upon others who have been a victim of your actions.”
Whyley's upskirting was unveiled when a 16-year-old girl raised the alarm after hearing a camera click in H&M in Worcester in August 2019.
The suspect was then traced via CCTV to a building owned by the University of Worcester.
A search of his company vehicle revealed two pairs of shoes with holes cut in the toes and an SD card with 94 images and videos recorded through the windows of private homes.
Later it was found that he had also taken more than 6,436 images of women over several months.
Watch: Rape trials in Scotland could be heard without a jury
During Whyley's sentencing, the teenage victim addressed the court in a statement, saying: “I have become so conscious of what I wear when I’m out and in the town and there’s other people around.”
She also said she feels “incredibly wary of middle-aged men that I can’t trust” and that she is “constantly looking over my shoulder”.
“I worry about who has those images and it gets me really anxious to think that I don’t know where they have gone,” she added.
“This has impacted on every aspect of my life and I’m now constantly anxious and worried about something happening.”
Nicholas Wragg, defending, said Whyley is of “previous good character”, has shown remorse, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and has “taken steps to address his offending behaviour”.
Whyley was ordered to pay his victim £750 compensation, made subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register for five years.
He was also ordered to abide by an electronic curfew tag for four months, pay £340 in court costs, undertake 40 rehabilitation requirement days and carry out an accredited sex offender program.
The sentence comes amid a wider conversation around violence and sexual violence against women sparked by recent major news stories.
This includes the death of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared when she was walking home through south London just after 9pm earlier this year.
Her body was later discovered in a woodland in Kent and Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was arrested and charged with her murder.
In the wake of her death, school pupils across the country began to call out “rape culture”, especially students in top private schools.
This saw thousands of young women anonymously writing their stories of abuse on the website Everyone’s Invited, where more than 100 schools are named.
The site was founded by Soma Sara who, after sharing stories of rape culture on Instagram following multiple conversations with friends and family, was overwhelmed with responses from strangers.
Watch: Upskirting becomes crime in England and Wales