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Peeping Tom swimmer found guilty

April 20, 2013
James Mackay

James Mackay

A champion swimmer spied on a woman using a pair of mirrored goggles to peek under a changing room cubicle, a court heard.

Freestyle record-breaker James Mackay, 28, who has competed for Great Britain, angled the swimming goggles against a shampoo bottle so he could see into the neighbouring changing room.

Magistrates were told the married swimmer, who set the British 800m freestyle record in 2004, targeted the same woman on three separate occasions at the Abbey Stadium, Redditch, Worcestershire.

His victim became ‘uneasy’ when Mackay, from Redditch, spent a suspicious amount of time in the showers as if waiting for her to return from the pool.

The woman, who cannot be named, told Redditch Magistrates’ Court that on the first occasion she noticed Mackay’s blue flippers and sports bottle inside a cubicle.

She chose one further away but he moved in to the dressing room next to her, when she noticed his distinctive orange and black goggles on the floor.

She said: ‘I was taking my swimming costume off and put my towel round me and then I heard the door next door.

‘I saw this flash of blue flippers, he had moved next to me.

‘I then noticed the goggles. They were at an angle and looking into the cubicle. I felt uncomfortable but I thought I was being paranoid.

On two further occasions the woman purposely chose an cubicle against a wall and blocked the middle gap with her bag, but Mackay chose the cubicle behind her.She said: ‘I started to shake and I felt no one had taken me seriously.

‘I videoed the goggles so I could show the Abbey Stadium.’

Police later seized Mackay’s goggles and used them to reconstruct the incidents which confirmed that they could see a reflection between cubicles.

He claimed he had spent a long time in the shower due to performing stretching exercises and said he didn’t recognise his victim.

But magistrates rejected his defence and on Tuesday  found Mackay guilty of three counts of observing a person doing a private act for sexual gratification.

Chairman of the bench Peter Sheppard said: ‘We are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the equipment belonged to you and was being used to observe the occupant in the next cubicle.’

Sentencing was adjourned until May 8 for probation reports to be prepared.

Mackay was bailed and banned from entering the Abbey Stadium until further notice.

A spokeswoman from Redditch Borough Council, which runs the stadium, said the victim had discussed her concerns with staff and had wanted to report the incident to police herself.

She added all possible measures were taken to ensure people’s privacy.

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