Guest house man spied on couples

Hotelier Paul Williams.
Hotelier Paul Williams.

A SCARBOROUGH guest house owner spied on and recorded his lodgers in their intimate moments, a court heard yesterday.

Among the victims secretly watched by Paul Williams, 59, was a 16-year-old girl and her partner – from holes which he had drilled in the door of their room.

The spying took place at the Sandsea guest house in Devonshire Drive, across the road from Peasholm Park.

He recorded his couples having intercourse on audio equipment which he had set up in an adjoining room.

In court yesterday, the revelations were said to have left the young couple and other guests feeling “sick and horrified”.

Williams pleaded guilty to charges of voyeurism and observing a private act for his own sexual gratification at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

Steve Ovenden, prosecuting, said: “Three couples went to Scarborough for the weekend and booked rooms and the Sandsea Guest House.

“They arrived, paid their money and went to enjoy their evening in Scarborough before they returned to their rooms.

“A student aged 16 then saw a poster with fire regulations on it moving around on the door and told her boyfriend.”

The male investigated and discovered a hole which provided a view directly onto the bed. After hearing footsteps he opened the door to find Williams, wearing a dressing gown, shuffling down the corridor.

They informed their friends who found similar spy holes in their rooms hidden behind pieces of paper, before the recording equipment was discovered.

“One of the gentlemen went into an adjoining room and came out with a voice recorder,” Mr Ovenden added. When played, the recording “sounded like people having sexual intercourse.”

As the guests had all consumed alcohol and could not drive, they stayed at the guest house but moved to one room. The next morning they obtained a refund and called the police.

One of the guests later told police that she was “terrified and couldn’t wait to leave” while another said she was left feeling “sick and horrified” by Williams’ actions.

Williams was arrested and admitted drilling the holes, saying that initially he had made them to check residents did not leave without paying and because he suspected some of taking drugs.

Mr Ovenden said: “He claimed it started innocently, but he had recorded couples having sex and conceded this would have caused distress. He said he was sorry.”

The court heard that Williams had no previous convictions or cautions.

Franklyn Garvey, mitigating, said: “The prosecution have given the facts and the explanation of what the defendant had to say.

“This incident is a very sad blemish on what has been a peerless record.”

Magistrates ordered that a pre-sentence report on Williams is prepared by the probation service. He will be sentenced on August 8.

Victoria Shephard, the chairman of the bench, said that she believed a custodial sentence would be appropriate and left all options open with regard to sentencing.

She said: “The offending was aggravated because it took place in a hotel, there was an audio recording made and one victim was aged 16. It was an abuse of your position.”