A man who filmed young girls in cubicles next to him at a Fife swimming pool changing over a period of months, has been jailed.
Richard Schickhofer place his mobile phone in his shoe then pushed it under the partition to secretly record naked youngsters as they changed at the leisure centre in Glenrothes.
A shocked 15-year-old girl spotted a camera pointing at her from inside the shoe on the floor and kicked it away, leading to Schickhofer’s sick behaviour being exposed.
However, the nursing student later tried to put the blame on the design of the changing rooms which allowed him to carry out the secret filming.
Police discovered videos of kids undressing on seized mobile phones and a computer taken from his home.
Another girl, initially unidentified, was confirmed as being 15 because a police officer investigating the video evidence knew her.
Schickhofer (24), of Muirfield Drive, Glenrothes, admitted that on March 10 last year at Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, Viewfield, Glenrothes, he operated equipment with the intention of observing a girl then aged 15, by placing his mobile phone in his shoe and placing them under a changing room partition to record her in a state of undress.
He also admitted that on numerous occasions between December 14, 2014 and March 10 last year at the same centre, he operated equipment with the intention of observing unidentified female adults and children by placing video recording equipment under the changing room partition to film them in a state of undress.
Dunfermline Sheriff Court previously heard that a girl had gone to the pool with a male friend at 6pm on March 10.
After swimming, she went into a cubicle to get changed. She locked the door and began drying herself. She was still in her swimsuit. She looked down and saw a dark coloured shoe.
The shoe had been placed into her cubicle under the five-inch gap at the bottom of it and the girl saw a mobile phone was in it. The girl kicked the shoe away.
She told her friend what had happened and they spoke to a lifeguard, who said he thought he may know the man’s identity and later helped police trace him.
Computer equipment was later taken from his home for examination along with two mobile phones which were seized from him.
Three videos were found, showing females changing and some victims are still unidentified.
One video file was dated December 14, 2014 and showed a girl drying herself in a cubicle. Her age was assessed as between 14 and 18 years.
A second video file was dated March 10, 2015, lasting 67 seconds and showed Schickhofer in a cubicle, adjusting a recording device and pushing it into a booth with two females, one an adult and the other an undressed girl aged 12-15 years.
Another video was on his mobile phone, lasting over nine minutes. Again Schickhofer was seen adjusting the device and camouflaging it with an item of clothing. He pushed the device back and forward into an empty cubicle, adjusting it.
A girl aged 15 then entered the cubicle, locked the door and removed her swimsuit. The girl’s age could be confirmed as a police officer analysing the film knew her.
The court heard Schickhofer was originally from Austria but had lived in Glenrothes for several years. He was a student at Fife College and had hoped to pursue a career in nursing but had now left his course.
When Schickhofer appeared for sentencing yesterday, it emerged that he had blamed the design of the cubicles for the offences.
Sheriff Charles MacNair said, “You put part of the blame on the design of the changing room but the blame is entirely on you.”
He added that such offending is becoming easier to commit because of technology and that sentences should deter those tempted to commit similar crimes.
He jailed Schickhofer for nine months. He also made him subject to a sexual offenders protection order banning him from mixed changing areas for ten years.
Schickhofer was also placed on the sex offenders register for the same period.