United Kingdom

Police officer found not guilty of attempting to secretly film naked female colleague showering

A Gloucestershire police constable has today been cleared of attempting to film a naked female colleague as she showered at their force headquarters.

PC Jonathan Eaton, from Brockworth, Gloucester, had pleaded not guilty at Newport Crown Court last week to attempting to observe and record, for his sexual gratification, a person involved in a private act without consent on February 27, 2019. 

The 32-year-old had told the jury of seven men and five women that his phone had been facing the wrong way for him to have attempted to film the woman as she used the showers at the Gloucestershire Police HQ gym at Waterwells in Quedgeley, Gloucester.

Following a six-day trial, the jury took five hours and 12 minutes to return their verdict of not guilty.

PC Jonathan Eaton, 32, has today been cleared of attempting to film a naked female colleague as she showered at their force headquarters

Trial Judge Geraint Walters said to the jury: 'There was effectively only one question to be answered and that was what was the phone doing there in the shower cubicle and did PC Eaton attempt to either record or observe whoever was showering in the adjacent cubicle whether the phone was pointed upwards or not? 

'You've answered this with your not guilty verdict.'

PC Eaton said he went into the showers to dampen his hair and tidy it up.

But prosecutor Matthew Roberts questioned the officer's evidence, pointing out that PC Eaton had gone 'into a shower cubicle fully clothed to use the pressure from a shower head to sculpt your hair yet emerged from it bone dry.'

The barrister continued: 'He says that he put his phone on the floor and knelt down to put the shower on and wet his head. Mr Eaton's account is nothing less than incredible.'

The jury heard that the woman officer was using the shower at 7.15am on February 27, 2019, as part of her daily gym routine.

'As she was drying off, she noticed a distinctive phone being held underneath the partition. She could not see who was handling the phone but clearly recalls its cover,' the prosecutor said.

'Almost immediately a man tried to leave the shower complex and the woman shouted "Stop that policeman", to which two other police officers responded and apprehended Eaton.

PC Eaton had told the jury that his phone had been facing the wrong way for him to have attempted to film the woman as she used the showers at the Gloucestershire Police HQ (pictured) at Waterwells in Quedgeley, Gloucester

'The woman recognised the phone cover the man was carrying as being the same as the one she saw in the cubicle. She also noticed that the man's head was completely dry as he walked away after being challenged.'

The court was told that PC Eaton, who was training to become a detective constable, went home on sick leave following the incident. 

He left Waterwells at 8.03am and he was back home by 8.49am - and within 40 minutes his phone had been reset back to factory settings.

PC Eaton said in his evidence that he had gone into the shower cubicle as he had a double crown that he was 'precious' about as he did not want his hair sticking up. 

He had chosen to use the high-powered showers to stick his hair back down, he claimed.

PC Eaton described going into the shower cubicle fully clothed and said he had knelt down to use the shower head, having placed his phone on the floor.

He continued: 'As far as I was concerned the camera mode was not operational. The phone's camera lens would have been facing the floor if it was in camera mode and facing the ceiling if it was in selfie mode. 

'If it was being used to record the image would have been visible on the screen.

'I didn't know who was in the adjacent cubicle. I then picked up my phone and left.

'As I was walking away I heard a woman shout "oi" but I didn't think it was aimed at me and I carried on retrieving my possessions when the same woman shouted, "stop that policeman".

'I then spoke to a woman in a towel at the opposite end of the changing room. She questioned me about whether I had been filming her and demanded to see my phone.

'She didn't look at it properly before walking away. I could tell she was distressed. I was a bit shocked at what had just happened.'

PC Eaton then explained his actions over resetting his phone and said: 'When I got home I decided to sort my phone out as it was being very sluggish.

'I assumed that having bought additional storage my phone would automatically be backed up. I decided that the only option was to factory reset my phone, which is what I did.

'I then contacted the Gloucestershire Police Federation for advice. They told me to return to discuss the situation. But as I entered the room I was told that officers were coming to arrest me.

'I was then taken to a police station out of the county to be interviewed after which I was released under investigation without being charged.

'After a year, during which time I was still working but had been under warrant restraint, I was duly summonsed, charged and suspended from work.

'I haven't done anything wrong. I have never been accused of anything before. It was a lifelong dream to become a policeman. I became a special constable in 2009 before I joined the regulars four years later.'

Mr Roberts concluded: 'PC Eaton was suspended from duty when he was charged and he now faces disciplinary misconduct proceedings following the completion of these criminal proceedings.'

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