A VOYEUR secretly filmed female police officers getting changed and caused a paedophile investigation to collapse when he stole a laptop.
Christopher Richardson-Blake installed a secret camera in the ceiling of Abingdon police station and recorded three women undressing and using the showers for his own “sexual gratification”.
Oxford Crown Court heard yesterday that while working as a maintenance engineer the 32-year-old, formerly of Checker Walk, Abingdon, also stole an HP laptop confiscated from a suspected paedophile – who as a result was never charged. A senior officer from Thames Valley Police condemned Richardson-Blake’s actions as an “invasion of privacy” and said he was glad he had been brought to justice.
Jonathan Stone, prosecuting, said the former RAF airman was caught after his estranged wife found the covert footage on a laptop and took it to the police.
He told Judge Ian Pringle that two female officers and a civilian member of staff were captured by thesecret camera, which was in place between June and July 2011. The barrister said when police raided Richardson-Blake’s home they discovered four more miniature cameras, as well as cameras concealed in a key fob and a plastic coat hook.
Mr Stone said they also found the laptop he stole from the police station, the loss of which had caused suspicion and an internal enquiry to start in the paedophile investigation team.
He added that the women recorded by Richardson-Blake had been left feeling shaken and anxious, with one terrified the footage would end up on YouTube.
At the time of the offence he was working for national maintenance firm Initial Facilities after finishing nine years of service in the Royal Air Force.
Justine Davidge, defending, said her client had suffered from depression and could only explain his behaviour as being for his own “sexual gratification”.
She said: “He was very unhappy at the time, he was having marital problems which had started in 2008 when their marriage started.
“He left the RAF around that time and he had problems adjusting to civilian life.”
Christopher Richardson-Blake tries to evade photographers
Miss Davidge said Richardson-Blake had no idea of the upset his actions would cause or that he would derail a police investigation. She added that his wife had now left him.
Judge Pringle said he accepted the defendant had no previous convictions, his remorse was genuine and said he had impressive character references from friends.
But he told Richardson-Blake what he had done had a “devastating” effect on his victims and he would be failing in his duty if he didn’t send him to prison.
Judge Pringle said: “This was probably one of the worst abuses of trust that you could commit.
“The place where these women worked was akin in many way to their own homes.”
He sentenced Richardson-Blake to 10 months in prison, said he would spend 10 years on the sex offenders’ register and made him subject to a sexual offences prevention order.
Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Mark Johns said: “This was a complete invasion of privacy against employees of Thames Valley Police.
“I would like to commend the professionalism of all the victims and the professional way staff have dealt with these offences coming to light.”