A BRITISH backpacker prowled Sunshine Coast shopping centres looking for attractive women and following them to change rooms where he filmed them in various stages of undress.
Once Luke Thomas Robinson found a target who was trying on clothing, he would slip into an adjacent change room and use his mobile phone to film over or under separating walls or curtains.
He managed to film at least 49 women before a worker at City Beach, Noosaville, noticed and called police on December 10.
Robinson pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court this afternoon to 12 charges of making observations or recording in breach of privacy, and another 42 of making observations or recording in breach of privacy in the genital or anal region.
His lawyer, Nathan Turner, said the behaviour was out of character for the 28-year-old, who was in Australia on a working holiday with his partner of seven years, "his rock and the love of his life".
No specific reason was given to the court for the offending by the arts and design graduate, who previously had a clean record.
However, Mr Turner said the couple had run out money and were working voluntarily for accommodation in a mixed dormitory at Noosa, where intimacy was difficult, leading to frustrations, and their relationship had deteriorated.
Mr Turner said Robinson's partner supported him getting professional help with a view to saving their relationship.
Robinson was tearful and held his head in his hands at times during proceedings, and was visibly affected when parts of a victim impact statement were read to the court.
His girlfriend sat stoically in the back of court, at times making eye contact with him, at times teary, and at other times, looking away from him.
The court heard the couple had shared a phone and Robinson had saved images to a locked Facebook page under the fake name Lucy Jenkins so that he could delete them from the phone before his girlfriend found them.
Robinson filmed at Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore, on November 12, 17, 18, 19, and 24, and at Noosa Civic on November 25, 26, 28, and December 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10.
The only victim identified was the woman who was getting changed the day Robinson was caught.
In a victim impact statement, she wrote that her emotions were going around in circles and she was sometimes too scared to stay home alone.
"I have random panic attacks, I can't stop crying, I get shaky and scared and feel like I have to keep looking over my shoulder..." she wrote.
Mr Turner said his client accepted his behaviour was unacceptable and had cooperated totally with police, seeking the soonest possible sentence date, just 12 days after his arrest.
Magistrate Dean Wilkinson said it was fortunate to some extent that only one victim had been identified and other women were unaware of what had occurred.
He sentenced Robinson to a four months' imprisonment to be served in the community as an intensive correctional order, which will require him to report regularly to corrective services and attend medical and psychiatric appointments and community service as directed.
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