A married pensioner has avoided jail despite spending 15 years spying on young women using cameras hidden inside smoke detectors.
David McDonnell, 73, inserted cameras into fire alarms in the bedrooms of three women before huddling over a small monitor to watch live footage as they dressed after a shower or engaged in sexual acts with a partner.
It was only when a small TV showing the live stream was discovered at McDonnell’s home that he was caught.
Prosecutor Stephen Littlewood told Hull Crown Court: ‘The camera was located in the smoke alarm.
‘There was footage found of one woman engaging in various sexual acts with a boyfriend, and then sexual intercourse with another.
David McDonnell, 73, inserted cameras into fire alarms in the bedrooms of three women before huddling over a small monitor to watch live footage as they dressed after a shower or engaged in sexual acts with a partner (file image)
‘Police recovered footage from multiple occasions where the woman was naked having been in the shower.’
More footage was recovered showing the pervert having sex with women believed to be escorts but there were no charges over that.
One victim said she felt ‘violated’ and did not feel safe in her own home. Another said: ‘I have no idea when I will understand the impact this has had on me.’
One of her ex boyfriend’s said he also ‘felt violated’ after being filmed having sex with her. The ages of the women were not revealed.
McDonnell pleaded guilty to five counts of voyeurism involving three women.
Richard Thompson, mitigating, told the court McDonnell had no previous convictions, adding: ‘He has failed to explain how this came across his mind.
‘He must have known this was an inappropriate thing to do. A significant step is that he pleaded guilty.’
He claimed a character reference showed ‘an entirely different side to him’ and said his wife left him following the revelations.
Prosecutor Stephen Littlewood told Hull Crown Court (pictured): ‘The camera was located in the smoke alarm’
McDonnell, of Market Weighton, was handed a community order, given a restraining order, and ordered to attend rehabilitation.
Judge David Tremberg told him: ‘This offending is a dramatic fall from grace for a man like you with an unblemished character.
‘I have read lots of references that speak highly of you. You viewed the benefits for you as outweighed the risk.
‘You installed a covert and quite sophisticated surveillance system with cameras and recording equipment and you captured your victims over the course of years. It is clear this offending had quite a significant degree of planning.’