A company director who secretly filmed a woman tenant showering naked in his rented home was spared instant jail today despite a judge revealing that he had made his victim panic-stricken and anxious.
Mark Horsey stood up in the dock and thanked Judge Jonathan Black for giving him a suspended sentence.
The landlord issued a bizarre set of conditions for his all-women tenants, including one rule which said specifically: ‘It’s okay to stand up in the shower.’
A jury heard that this was because he was standing on a ladder to film one of the women through a glass window above the bathroom door. A video clip showing her naked was found on his computer.
It was months after the incidents that the victim became aware she had been filmed by Horsey when police showed her the video clip. She soon began suffering from hysterical outbursts and developed a tremor, the court heard.
Horsey had rolled his eyes to the ceiling when a jury of seven women and five men convicted him of one count of voyuerism in a unanimous verdict at Guildford Crown Court.
The 59-year-old had denied locking himself into an adjacent study at the house in Guildford, to clamber up a step-ladder to film one tenant through a gap in the window above the bathroom door, the court had been told.
The director, who provides financial services for around 150 dentists, claimed the step-ladder was to ‘swat away cobwebs off the ceiling’ and ‘change light bulbs’ and he had never entered the bathroom in his 10 years of owning the four-bedroom home.
A one-minute mobile phone clip was found copied onto the father-of-two’s well-organised laptop in a file labelled ‘Good Files’ but he claimed he had never seen the file or video and instead blamed one of the women’s boyfriends for taking the footage.
His victim had moved out of the house after staying there for about five or six months but it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that police made her aware that there was a video of herself in the bathroom taking a shower.
Selena Jones, prosecuting at Guildford Crown Court, read out a lengthy victim impact statement written by the woman, who suffers with anxiety. Horsey had secretly filmed while she showered in his rental home.
Ms Jones told the court the victim had written: ‘Like everyone, I would like to call myself a strong and powerful woman but this incident has affected my anxiety to a large extent.
‘Although nothing physically was done to me, seeing the footage leaves me feeling very anxious.
‘The evening spent in the police station was fine. However, when I was in bed later that night, the realisation of what had happened hit me and I experienced hysterical outbursts leading to a panic attack. I couldn’t believe this had happened to me.
‘The worst situation was having to tell my father and my partner, the two men I respect most in the world.
‘It is silly to think, but I can’t help thinking that I have done something wrong. I found myself initially thinking about how naive I must have been to let this happen.
‘There were occasions with Mark (the landlord) when he noticed my tremors which I have, especially when people are watching me. I explained my tremor to Mark, I am happy to talk about it because it’s a part of who I am.
‘Mark’s reaction was along the lines of “don’t you want to get better?” and “I can help you”. Throughout I felt quite patronised by his words. I felt like he was saying there was something wrong with me, viewing me as a naive young girl and patronising me.
‘I am left with something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.’
Horsey had micro-managed the lives of his young professional female tenants by demanding the victim took a shower in the morning and the other two women were to wash in the evening.
A tenant had put a sheet of paper in the window so as to block the gap above the bathroom door, but Horsey took down that sheet of paper and said it could damage the glass and didn’t look good.
He also posted up ‘rules’ on a laminated card on the wall saying it was ‘okay to stand up while showering,’ the court heard.
Stephen Moses QC, defending, said: ‘Mr Horsey admits his behaviour. There is contrition he wishes to express and I ask the court to accept that through me.
‘This was a matter which took place four years ago at a particularly trying time in the build up and the aftermath of his mother’s death. There has been no repeat behaviour since then.
‘Give him the benefit of the doubt to allow for those matters.’
Judge Black, referring to the victim statement, told Horsey, of Golf Links Avenue, Hindhead, Surrey, : ‘You need to understand that your behaviour towards her has affected her psychologically and will continue to do so for many years.
‘She was a strong, intelligent woman – she now has panic attacks and her anxiety levels have increased.’
‘However, I believe you are someone who would work with the probation service and I can suspend the sentence of imprisonment for today.’
Judge Black imposed a nine month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered Horsey to sign up to the sex offenders register for 10 years.
Horsey was also ordered to complete 25 days of rehabilitative service, pay damages of £3,600 and forfeit his laptop and hard-drive, which officers had confiscated after raiding his £650,000 home, for destruction.
Given freedom to leave, white-haired Horsey bowed his head and followed the probation officer out of the court.