A taxi driver is facing prison after admitting taking more than 250 videos up the skirts of young women and schoolgirls as they shopped.
Grandfather Mark Durden, 60, preyed on shoppers using an iPhone at the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent because he had a schoolgirl fetish.
The Daily Mail reports that Durden, of Lamberhurst, Kent, pleaded guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court to committing an act of outraging public decency by taking images up the skirts of women, without their knowledge, over the course of three years.
David Holman, prosecuting, said: “He was found out by the police following a report from Topshop.
“A team leader at the Tunbridge Wells store in Royal Victoria Place gave a statement saying they had noticed the same person was coming in regularly from 3.30pm onwards.”
Mr Holman read out the statement, which said: “My attention was caught as he was clearly not in the shop to purchase anything. He was looking at young girls, mainly in school uniform, and following them around the shop. It was creepy and made me feel uncomfortable.”
CCTV footage was obtained of Durden and he was arrested in June last year. His address was searched and devices were seized, including a black laptop bag.
Mr Holman explained how the laptop bag had a clear section on the end, in which Durden concealed an iPhone behind some magazines, the covers of which he had cut a hole through for the camera lens.
Police discovered hundreds of videos dated over a period of three years between 2013, and 2016. They found 268 ‘iPhone videos of the backs of legs and up the skirts of unsuspecting females and young women in tight clothing’ including 93 thought to be of teenage schoolgirls.
The shops Durden targeted included schoolgirls’ favourites Topshop and Claire’s Accessories, as well as New Look, Marks & Spencer and Miss Selfridge.
Eleanor Dobson, defending, said: “Mr Durden has extensive personal mitigation.
“He is a 60-year-old man of previous good character, up until he committed these offences. He says he is remorseful and ashamed. He has tried very hard to come to terms with his behaviour and its effects on his family.”
Durden had experienced a number of ‘very stressful events’ since 2010, including financial difficulties and the ill health of his wife. He took a job as a taxi driver working nights from 7pm to 7am, and this resulted in him having an ‘isolated social life’.
Ms Dobson said: “Mr Durden said he would do it up to three times per month. He would sleep after work and then he would leave the house and go out - this was after school time.
“He says only a third of the videos were of schoolgirls. He denies age was the draw, but says it was the uniform and short skirts.”
She said Durden had ‘taken the matter seriously’ and had visited his GP to arrange seeing a psychiatrist, and paid privately for psychological help.
He has also not been able to continue his work as a taxi driver.
Three magistrates, including chairman of the bench Abigail Brennan, referred his case to Crown Court for sentencing.
He was given bail with conditions of not being in possession of any device capable of recording or capturing images in public, and is supervised when visiting his granddaughter.
Durden will be sentenced at a later date at Maidstone Crown Court.