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Man sentenced for upskirting offence - Kent

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A sex offender has been given a community order after he was caught taking photographs up the skirt of a woman on a train.

Martin Bell, aged 47 of Ormonde Road, Folkstone, was sentenced at Highbury Corner Magistrate’s Court on 20 August following the incident which occurred in January this year.
He pleaded guilty to outraging public decency and received a 12 month community order and a five year sexual harm prevention order.

Bell was travelling on a train from Ashford, Kent, when he was spotted by two men positioning his phone under the skirt of a female passenger and taking photographs.

The two men intervened and Bell admitted what he was doing but claimed it was ‘just for a laugh’.
Concerned that Bell may attempt to delete the photographs from his phone, one of the men grabbed it and passed it to Bell’s victim, having explained to her what had happened.
All four left the train at St Pancreas and alerted British Transport Police who immediately attended.

When questioned at the scene Bell admitted to the officer that he had been taking pictures but again claimed it was just a bit of fun. He was arrested for outraging public decency.
In police interview he confessed that officers would find more pictures of other victims on his phone and admitted that he liked to take ‘unposed’ pictures up the skirts of women on trains and escalators.

Of the 65 photographs on Bell’s phone, 20 related to upskirting all taken over a six month period ending on November 2017.

Investigating officer DC Gareth Jones said: “British Transport Police takes any report of unwanted sexual  behaviour seriously. The taking of intimate photographs up the skirt of a stranger without their knowledge or consent is not only reprehensible it is indecent and unlawful.  We will always seek to prosecute offenders using the legislation available to us.”

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