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'Seedy' voyeur spared jail

Thursday, 14 June 2018

'Seedy' voyeur spared jail thumbnail Shamed fast-food chain worker Richard Cooper from Ballymoney pictured leaving Coleraine Courthouse following another court appearance. Photo: Mark Jamieson.

A "SEEDY" Ballymoney voyeur who set up his mobile phone to video customers and staff using the toilets of the KFC (Kentuckey Fried Chicken) where he worked has been spared jail.
Judge Brian Sherrard told Richard Cooper, 25, that even though his was a case that could justify custody," the public could best be protected by him serving two years probation "in order to address your deficiencies .... and to deal with your needs".
The judge also told Cooper, from John Street, that he would be "under the cosh" of probation whose orders he must follow or face the prospect of an immediate custodial sentence.
Judge Sherrard said "all right-minded people would be horrified" by Cooper's "gross intrustions ... and significant breach of trust."
He heard how,   "in a dry run," Coooper had  secretly videoed his own wife using the loo in their own home.
Prosecution barrister Tessa Kitson said that Cooper was always "protective of his phone."
 But last June he had left it charging, and his wife, "quite suspicious" of this, took the opportunity to look at it.
She was "shocked" to find the recordings, including one of herself.
She immediately took the phone to the police, and it appeared, added Ms Kitson, that Cooper had put his phone, either inside or on top of a bin in the toilets of the Coleraine KFC where he worked, so he could "then view people coming in to use the bathroom".
Ms Kitson said the images captured included a youngster aged five or six, a teenage schoolgirl, a mother changing a baby's nappy, and a member of KFC staff.
Defence lawyer Aaron Thompson said that since the offences came to light, Cooper had lost not only his job, but also his marriage and any contact with his own young child.
"His life, really by his own hand, has been cast upside down," said the barrister.
Mr Thompson said that while Cooper carried out his voyeuristic activities in a "serupticious and seedy way."
 Cooper, Mr Thompson added,  "accepts he has done wrong, but now has begun to move on with his life in the best way he can".
Cooper, who appeared at Antrim Crown Court last Thursday pleaded guilty to four charges of voyeurism for his own sexual gratification beween December 2016 and January 2017.
He is subject to a Sex Offences Provention Order (SOPO) for the next five years.

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