A man who installed software to spy on three women via their computers webcams has been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment – suspended for two years – at Woolwich Crown Court today, Friday 30 May.
Andrew Meldrum, 30 of Crosslet Vale, SE10 was found guilty of three counts of unauthorised access to computer material (cont. Section 1 Computer Misuse Act 1990) and two counts of voyeurism (contrary to Section 4 Sexual Offences Act 2003) on 3 March.
Meldrum has also been ordered to attend specialised rehabilitation sessions and will be required to provide a notification requirement for the next 10 years. He has also been ordered to pay costs totalling £2100.
Detective Constable Nick Pailthorpe, the investigating officer from Southwark Borough CID said: “This was a complex and protracted investigation that involved detailed examination and evaluation of computer files, where crucial evidence was secured.
“I would like to thank all witnesses in this investigation but especially the three victims who gave evidence on matters that were clearly of a private, intimate and personal nature to them. Meldrum effectively hacked into their lives.
“I hope that they can take some consolation in the guilty verdict that sends out a clear message to anyone that this type of intrusion into a person’s private life is not acceptable and the Metropolitan Police will support all victims and pursue all suspects.”
The court heard that in November 2012 one of the victims, a (then) 21-year-old woman, contacted police an informed them that she had found software on her personal computer that enabled remote accessing of her webcam.
The victim suspected it had been put there by Meldrum who had recently helped her with her computer.
Detectives began investigating and on 13 November Meldrum was arrested and bailed as further enquiries and forensic examination of the computer were carried out.
The victim then told another woman, (then) aged 23, what had happened. This woman also knew Meldrum and she also found the software on her computer and informed police.
In turn this second victim contacted a third woman she was aware knew Meldrum to make her aware of what police were investigating. Again this third victim, (then) aged 28, found that she had this software on her computer and that it had most likely been on her computer for around 15 months.
Meldrum was further arrested throughout the investigation and was eventually charged on 6 June 2013 and found guilty following trial as above.
Meldrum was found not guilty of one count of voyeurism and one count of theft that he had also been charged with.