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4th Jul, 2022

Celebrity gardener pervert Steve Brookes jailed for a year

Correspondent 8th Feb, 2017

TV gardening expert Steve Brookes wept as he was jailed for a year for secretly filming female tenants showering in a flat above his Stratford home.

The former Gardeners’ World host set up the motion-activated camera in an air freshener to capture the footage, which was beamed to his iPhone.

The 55 year-old spied on seven women in their 20s between November 2015 and September last year.

The dad and grandfather, who has worked for the BBC since 1993 as a gardening presenter broadcast live from the Chelsea Flower Show last year.

Brookes created the character of ‘Mr Rotavator’ in the 1990s and visited schools to encourage an interest in horticulture among youngsters.

He won the Royal Television Society Award in 2000 for his series Growing Plants and was chairman of Stratford’s In Bloom project until early last year.

The camera air freshener was placed on top of a cupboard in the bathroom at his £500,000 Loxley Road home.

Brookes would move the camera through the day to focus on victims – one of who was younger than his own daughter – in the shower and on the toilet.

When police raided his home they found nearly 200 secretly filmed videos on his computer which he used for his ‘titillation’.

Brookes admitted seven charges of observing a person doing a private act knowing the person did not consent to being observed for his sexual gratification.

Three of his victims sat in the public gallery as Brookes was sentenced at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday (February 8).

Brookes was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for seven years and his recording equipment was destroyed.

Prosecutor Raj Punia said one of the victims had been left on anti-depressants, another suffers anxiety attacks and they all have sleepless nights.

The victims’ statements were read out by Ms Punia.

They said: “When I found out what was being done I felt I had been violated and lost part of my dignity.

“The thought of being watched is utterly sickening. He has failed to understand the long term impact this would have upon me and the other victims.”

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said: “For a period of almost a year you had a camera hidden.

“There were photos taken from the videos which had been zoomed in showing that you had been looking at close ups.

“You moved the device during the day according to where it was most likely to catch pictures of these young women.

“What you did was a gross invasion of privacy of seven young women. All of whom you are old enough to be their father.

“I know that you are sorry but the trouble is what you have done cannot be taken back.

“There is something particularly unpleasant for these women about the fact they know you have some images of them that will be in your possession in your head forever.

“It is very sad to see a man like you in this position. The fact you are a man who is in the public eye makes your fall from grace today that much more spectacular.

“Your character is in ruins.”

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