A WIRRAL man secretly filmed a teenage girl through a bedroom window as she got ready for school, a court has heard.
Mark Helliwell, 49, walked free from court despite spying on the schoolgirl by using a camcorder from outside her home.
At Liverpool Crown Court, Andrew McInnes, prosecuting, said the schoolgirl noticed the man looking up at her window in December 2020.
She began to document Helliwell's behaviour and noticed he would repeatedly stare at her window but move away when she or her parents saw him.
The girl and her parents took numerous pictures of Helliwell’s actions and went to the police who arrested the father-of-one on March 24, 2021.
A search of his house uncovered a Panasonic camera and memory card containing 41 video clips of the girl, including ones that had zoomed in to show her inside her bedroom and a bathroom.
One clip showed the girl putting on makeup at a mirror before she went to school.
The clips lasted in length from seven seconds to 48 seconds and the man later admitted to police his motive for making the films was "sexual", the court was told.
In a victim impact statement read to the court by Mr McInnes, the girl's mother described how her daughter had been left suffering from nightmares by Helliwell’s behaviour.
Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said Helliwell, of The Links, Howbeck Road, Oxton, as an "intelligent man with many positive aspects" but whose actions had ensured his life had "fallen apart".
"His sister and brother are aghast," said Mr Parry-Jones. "This is not the person they know."
Mr Parry-Jones went on to describe how the man's wife had divorced him, their house had been sold and he now lived in rented accommodation.
"He has no friends or support network," said Mr Parry-Jones.
"Whatever happens he will live with this for the rest of his life."
Sentencing the 49-year-old, District Judge Jack McGarva, read from the girl's victim impact statement in which she described being "very scared".
Judge McGarva, addressing Helliwell, said: "I'm quite certain she was terrified.
"Some of her adolescence has been stolen from her and you have to appreciate this.”
He handed the man, who pleaded guilty to charges of stalking and voyeurism and had no previous convictions, an eight month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.
He will also have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and sign the sex offenders register for ten years.
Judge McGarva also ordered Helliwell be the subject of a ten year restraining order not to approach the victim or her family or enter the street where they live.
The media had not previously been able to report Helliwell's conviction because the judge had imposed restrictions preventing him being named publicly.
But this ban was lifted following a challenge by the by the Wirral Globe and it publisher Newsquest and the Liverpool Echo and its parent company, Reach plc.
The challenge successfully argued that the order went against case law and plainly infringed the principle of open justice.
Revoking the reporting restrictions, District Judge Garva said he had carefully considered the representations made by the media and he believed proportionate measures could be taken to protect the victim.