[Joel Hardman] Wore female rubber mask and wig to spy on women

Started by Xhanch Studio, May 11, 2011, 06:51:59 PM

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Xhanch Studio

A student who wore a female rubber mask while spying on women in shopping centre toilets has escaped jail.

Joel Hardman, 22, also put on a jet-black wig so he could slip into the women's toilets unnoticed at the Bullring, Birmingham.

The MA student, described in court as an intelligent man, got sexual gratification from listening to women use the toilet - and even made audio recordings.

Hardman, who had previously admitted watching someone during a private act for his own sexual gratification, said he initially went into the University of Birmingham's women's toilets.

But one month before he was caught, he switched to the Bullring - which saw 276,000 people visit on the day it opened - because it was 'busier'.

Hardman was finally caught out in the pale skin mask and black wig by a female shopper on April 3.

She reported to a shopping centre employee that she had seen someone looking like a 'mannequin' enter the women's toilets.

Security officers caught Hardman as he attempted to make for the exit after bursting from a cubicle.

The postgraduate student confessed that he liked to 'listen to ladies urinate'.

He was also found to have taken three pictures on his mobile phone of women's feet under the cubicle walls - and even had a bizarre audio recording that appeared to be the sound of a toilet flushing.

Jonathan Purser, prosecuting, said: 'Many people saw this gentleman wearing a mask and wig. Some were frightened at his appearance.'

Sophia Ali, defending, claimed Hardman was 'ashamed and embarrassed' by his actions and that he feared any conviction may affect his Master's course.

She also added that he was remorseful and accepted he needed help after he was ordered to register as a sex offender for five years.

Sergeant John Mawhinney, from Birmingham Central Police station, which patrols the Bullring, said: 'Hardman terrified innocent women for his own gratification.

'Thankfully, security staff were quick to respond and detained him at the scene.

'It is thanks to their actions and the vigilance of the member of the public who reported Hardman's suspicious behaviour that others were not targeted.'

Magistrates told Hardman, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, that they had a duty to protect the public.

He was given a three-year community order and placed on the sex offenders' treatment programme at Birmingham Magistrates' Court yesterday.

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