John Howell – Market Deeping/Oxford
Teddy bear perv gets caged
A civil servant who used hi-tech surveillance equipment to spy on a teenage girl has been jailed for three years.
John Howell, 43, of Southfield Road, East Oxford, gave the girl a teddy bear as a Christmas present, which had a tiny camera hidden inside one of its eyes so he could secretly film her, a court heard yesterday. Howell also used a camera hidden in a pen to film her getting undressed.
Phil Howes, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Howell also installed a software program on her computer allowing him to see all her emails. Mr Howes said: “He was obsessed with her. It was an infatuation.”
Howell, an Inland Revenue worker, was caught when the girl showed the teddy to her father, who noticed something was wrong and called the police.
Officers went to the home Howell was living in at the time, in Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, and seized his laptop computer and a briefcase full of surveillance equipment.
Howell later claimed the girl’s father was blackmailing him. He admitted four charges of voyeurism, two of sexual activity with a child, three of taking indecent photographs of a child, perverting the course of justice and making a false complaint of blackmail.
The court heard Howell admitted stroking the girl’s back and kissing her on the cheek, but no sexual activity took place.
Hannah Stevens, defending, said Howell knew what he had done was wrong and was “deeply remorseful”. Judge Michael Heath said: “You were sexually and emotionally preoccupied with this 13-year-old girl and you wanted a relationship with her.”
Howell was also put on the Sex Offenders’Register for life and was banned from ever working with children.
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