>By Natalie Slater
A man accused of being a peeping Tom while out walking his dog has been given a community order and a five-year restraining order.
Peeping Tom spied on nude woman
Michael Smart appeared at Reading Crown Court on Wednesday, March 10, to be sentenced for harassment after admitting the charge on day four of a trial originally for voyeurism in January.
At an earlir hearing the court had heard the 40-year-old was caught by the victim’s husband on their CCTV system. He had left track marks in the snow while sneaking up to the ground floor window to watch the woman making her breakfast and applying her make-up – which she did naked.
He originally faced trial after denying one charge of voyeurism between February 1 and 7, last year, but on day four of the trial he admitted a charge of harassment and the jury were directed to return a not guilty verdict on the voyeurism charge.
At his sentencing, in a victim statement read to the court, the woman said it had been a very distressing incident and it had concerned her he approached the house in Thatcham when he knew her husband was not there.
She said: “I felt vulnerable and scared and keep thinking back to when he was staking out our house.”
Alistair Grainger, defending, said the offence deserved a degree of sympathy because of the embarrassing publicity printed in the tabloid newspapers and suggested he should not have to pay compensation to his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, because they were richer than him.
Mr Grainger added the defendant was particularly sorry for the incident and hugely embarrassed and the case had almost caused him and his wife to split, although they were stronger for it now.
He said: “He has also suffered knock-on effects on his self-confidence and tells me he will never be walking down that street again. He cannot go out without people looking at him and he feels apprehensive and nervous, and perhaps even scared, to leave the house. He describes it as a year of hell for him.”
Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Wood said the wealth of his victim was irrelevant and that he would also serve a 12-month community order with a 100-hour unpaid work requirement.
Smart, of Westfield Crescent in Thatcham, was also ordered to pay £150 costs.