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Caretaker accused of spying on pupils in school pool.

A SENIOR school caretaker accused of looking through a peephole to spy on children's changing rooms has denied attempted voyeurism.

A jury at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that an assistant head teacher became suspicious of 51-year-old Nigel French after allegedly catching him lying semi-prone on the floor behind a stack of gym mats in the viewing gallery above the swimming pool.

John Davies had been in the pool area on the morning of Monday, December 5 when he went upstairs to the public viewing gallery, a makeshift storage area, to investigate a noise.

Mr Davies told the jury he had often seen French, of Awelfryn Terrace, Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, in the viewing gallery in the weeks prior to the alleged incident.

He walked upstairs and allegedly saw French's feet poking out the end of the mats before seeing him raise his head above them.

"I wondered what was going on," he said. "I could see somebody was in a semi-prone position."

Mr Davies told the jury that after spotting French, he quickly ducked back down and went back into the pool area, where he allegedly had a clear view of French in the same semi-prone position.

Suspicious, he reported the matter to his line manager.

The two of them went to investigate but found nothing. When Mr Davies went back with female colleague Amy Rowlands later that same day, they uncovered a hole drilled in the floor by moving some carpet tiles where French had allegedly been seen.

The hole was directly above the shower cubicle in the girls' changing rooms and Mr Davies told the court he was confused as to how anyone could see into the cubicle, because he knew a suspended ceiling had been fitted during refurbishment some years earlier.

Further investigation revealed that a ceiling tile had allegedly been moved to the side about eight inches to allow a clear view.

The court heard a further eight holes had been discovered above the boys' changing rooms and the jury learnt that the girls' and boys' changing rooms had been swapped following the refurbishment.

Suzanne Thomas, prosecuting, said that in interview, French had admitted being on the balcony because he was lying on the mats, "skiving" from work.

The case continues.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 12, 2012
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