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Man used covert cameras to spy on women and children at leisure centre

PUBLISHED: 16:48 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:19 31 January 2020

Tony Spencer, from Eye, who has been jailed for hacking iCloud accounts to obtain private images and filming people changing at Diss Leisure Centre. Picture: Essex Police

Tony Spencer, from Eye, who has been jailed for hacking iCloud accounts to obtain private images and filming people changing at Diss Leisure Centre. Picture: Essex Police

Essex Police

A man has been jailed for using covert cameras to film women and young children getting changed at a leisure centre.

Diss Leisure Centre on Victoria Road. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss Leisure Centre on Victoria Road. Picture: Simon Parkin

Tony Spencer, 38, of Victoria Hill, Eye, was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court today (January 30), for various computer misuse act offences that also included hacking multiple iCloud accounts of young women before capturing their private photographs and sharing them online with others.

He received a total of 32 months immediate custodial sentence for nine counts of voyeurism, five counts of taking indecent photographs of a child, and 12 counts of Computer Misuse Act (Hacking) Offences. He was also put on the Sex Offenders' Register for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Spencer had previously admitted the offences at Basildon Magistrates' Court on September 19 last year.

In 2017 Essex Cyber Crime Team discovered that Spencer had accessed iCloud accounts without the owner's consent to obtain private sexual images for his own and others sexual gratification.

During several searches of his home address, detectives found computer equipment containing the victims' pictures as well as software used to access these accounts. Twelve victims were identified and they were informed.

On Spencer's computer equipment were also secret recordings he made using specialist hidden recording equipment at his home address to capture his own sexual activities.

There were also recordings made at Diss Leisure Centre where he secretly filmed young women and children getting changed in the changing rooms.

These are believed to have been recorded between 2006 and 2011. Of these recordings police were able to identify seven of the victims and inform them of his actions.

Detective Sergeant Ian Collins, of Essex Police's Cyber Crime Team said: "Spencer went to extreme lengths to obtain images of young women and children without permission for his own and others sexual gratification.

"His secret lifestyle went hidden for many years until we received just a single report that revealed much, much more.

"He used his specialist knowledge to hack his unsuspecting victims' accounts and then accessed their most intimate photographs for his own sexual purpose and that of others.

"Spencer had no regard to the distress and embarrassment he caused the victims. We have now uncovered a long history of offending shown in his use of hidden cameras used at the swimming pool where he targeted both women and children at the point of getting changed into swimwear."

Det Sgt Collins said the case highlighted the importance of using two-factor authentication (2FA) on online accounts.

"Spencer was not able to access any accounts secured with 2FA as he would have needed the mobile phone of the victims at the same time," he said.

The investigation is part of a larger Essex Police investigation involving a number of suspects across the country found to be hacking into hundreds of iCloud accounts. It started after a victim from Grays reported her iCloud account being hacked and her personal intimate pictures posted online.

Two other offenders have already been convicted for iCloud hacking with Craig Steinberg, 33, of Lily Street, Sunderland, jailed in March 2018 for 34 months for 14 counts of Computer Misuse Act Offences and Dominik James, 33, of Beehive way, Stevenage, jailed for eight months for five counts of Computer Misuse Act Offences.

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