A SCARBOROUGH headteacher turned guest house owner was jailed yesterday for spying on and recording his lodgers for his own sexual gratification.
Paul Williams, 60, drilled “spy holes” overlooking beds to observe his guests and recorded their most intimate moments on audio equipment, Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard.
He committed the offences at the Sandsea Guest House in Devonshire Drive, across the road from Peasholm Park.
Williams, who was headteacher of Wykeham Primary School in the 1990s, was jailed for 18 weeks and told that he must sign the sexual offenders’ register for seven years.
Chairman of the bench Kate Warnock-Smith said: “Only a custodial sentence can be justified.
“This is because you were in breach of a position of trust and the young ages of the people involved.”
The court was told that the teenage guests who found the spy holes were left feeling “repulsed”. Williams was discovered spying on a 16-year-old girl and her boyfriend on May 14, after the couple returned to the guest house in the early hours of the morning and the girl saw a piece of paper on the door move suspiciously.
Steve Ovenden, prosecuting, said: “The male investigated and saw a nail or a screw being pushed back through the door and heard footsteps that sounded hurried.
“They opened the door to find the defendant in a blue and white striped dressing gown with nothing underneath.”
After the male confronted Williams, his girlfriend, who was described as “upset, distressed and crying,” went to alert two other couples who had gone with them to the guest house and were staying in separate rooms.
The two other couples found similar spy holes drilled in the doors of their rooms.
They later discovered a tape playing machine in an adjoining room. When played, the teenagers heard what sounded like recordings of people having sex.
Mr Ovenden added: “These young people barricaded themselves in one room and covered the holes. The remainder of the evening would not have been pleasant.”
After a complaint was made to police, Williams was arrested and admitted to making the spy holes two to three years earlier.
He claimed he initially made them to make sure guests had not left without paying, but admitted he had later realised he could use them to watch guests having sex.
He also admitted that the recording the teenagers found were of couples having sex, and apologised for his actions.
Williams pleaded guilty to charges of voyeurism and observing a person doing a private act for sexual gratification at an earlier hearing.
Franklyn Garvey, mitigating, pleaded with magistrates not to send his client to jail.
“Today the defendant stands on the edge of an abyss,” Mr Garvey told magistrates. “Whether he slips into that chasm depends on the decision that you reach.
“He has never been in trouble before. He has already had to withstand shame and disgrace. What has been said by the defendant is extremely genuine.
“I feel there is an alternative to custody.”
But magistrates were not swayed and Williams, who wore a grey suit, showed no emotion as he was handcuffed and led to start his sentence.