Story By The Tab - ‘The camera saw everything’: Lincoln student secretly filmed female housemates in bathroom
A Lincoln student has been convicted of voyeurism after a female housemate caught him filming their housemates using the bathroom, The Lincoln Tab can reveal.
Aubrey* discovered a camera that was hidden in a lockbox in her student house bathroom which had been there for months. After confiding in another housemate they broke open the box and found an iPhone inside that had been recording.
They reported the boy who claimed possession of the phone to the police and he was charged with voyeurism. The student was given a suspended sentence of six months in prison, suspended for two years. He was allowed to continue his studies at Lincoln, but only remotely, meaning he had to live and work off campus.
It all started when Aubrey became suspicious of a hole in the bathroom lockbox. Speaking exclusively to The Lincoln Tab, Aubrey said: “There was this pink locked box placed in the bathroom from the day we moved into the apartment together. Everyone assumed it had utilities in it and thought nothing of it but I was always suspicious because it had a man made tiny hole on one side of the box. Whenever I went to the bathroom I would always turn it against the wall – bit it would always soon be turned back to the original position by someone else.
Aubrey asked another housemate if they had noticed the red box, to which her housemate said she’d picked it up and felt something rattle inside. “My friend told me that if you go into a room with the light off and point a flash light at a camera lens it will reflect back at you. So we tried it. This is when it got scary – because there was a reflected light flashing back at us when we did that. There was a camera inside of there.
Aubrey and her housemate pried open the box and found an iPhone, as well as a place mat that read ‘Keep Calm I’m A Student’. “I didn’t know whether this was some kind of joke,” Aubrey said, “but we realised that it was used to prop the phone upright against the tiny hole with blue tack so that the camera would fit exactly against it.”
At this point, someone in Aubrey’s house group chat asked where the red box from the bathroom had gone. More and more housemates weighed in, until one male housemate said “Can I have my utility box back I store my tooth brush and tooth paste in there?”
Aubrey told The Tab: “At this point we knew it was his and he was lying, so we put in the chat that we had opened the box and found a phone in there. The person who claimed the box was his then responded by changing his story and saying that he didn’t store his tooth paste in it and that he put his phone in a locked box in order to amplify the music for when he was in the shower.”
That night Aubrey locked herself in her room with the box and the phone. The male housemate bombarded her with messages asking for it back, telling Aubrey she would ruin his life if she took the phone to the police. Aubrey asked for the phone’s passcode so she could see if was as innocent as he was claiming, but he said there were private pictures of his girlfriend on the phone so couldn’t give Aubrey the passcode. “He pressured me to give back the phone. I said no”, Aubrey told The Tab.
The next morning, Aubrey took the phone to the police and they explained that the male housemate had committed voyeurism. Police went to the student house and brought him in for questioning. Aubrey claims he never returned to the house after he was taken for questioning and she hasn’t seen him since.
“I then received a call from the police,” Aubrey continued. “They told me that he willingly unlocked the phone and they found a video. It was a video of myself and two other housemates going to the toilet. The camera saw everything and it was so embarrassing.”
A month later the male housemate plead guilty in court and received his six month suspended sentence. He was also made to sign the Sex Offenders Register for over of five years.
The Lincoln Tab also heard from two other housemates who were victim to this voyeurism. One housemate told The Lincoln Tab: “It made me feel sick to know that we had been living with this person for weeks without knowing what he had being doing. I also felt violated and scared every time I entered a bathroom in that house again, even after he had left.
“Be wary when it comes to living with new people. Yes, living with strangers in my first year led me to meet one of my closest friends and is part of the uni experience. But I would recommend trying to get in contact with these people prior to moving in through Facebook freshers pages. If it’s possible to live with people you already know in later years I would say go for it, but if not make sure you try and find a way of communicating with your roommates-to-be before you move in. First impressions really do count!”
A male student who also lived in the house told The Lincoln Tab he didn’t know how to react when he first found out, saying: “I didn’t want to take a side initially but the guy who did it kept making up more and more unbelievable and contradicting excuses as to why the phone was in the box. Seeing how upset and scared some of the girls in the house felt about it, I knew that this was real and that I had to stand by them.
“I personally didn’t even register that the box was in the bathroom it was that well disguised. I was quite calm at the time knowing that he probably wasn’t looking to film me, and I hate that, because I can never feel what the victims of this sex crime feel. I wasn’t objectified, I wasn’t spied on, my privacy wasn’t broken. But his victims were my friends and seeing them so hurt by what had happened made me very sad and annoyed. All I’ve learnt since is that apparently that box had allegedly been in bathrooms since first year, so who knows how long he may have been filming and victimising his female friends for.” He advises students that “you never know what people are capable of, even your friends”, adding “if your friend is accused of a horrible crime like this, I understand that you would want to defend them until proven guilty, but don’t disregard their victims stories and feelings and make them feel even more unsafe then they already do. In this case the victims felt unsafe and unwelcome in their own house, which is horrible. Don’t jump straight to denial, don’t just listen to one side of the story and please try and educate yourselves. I think we all can continue to work on the latter point.”
A spokesperson for the University of Lincoln said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. Any student who wishes to raise concerns about the conduct of another student or member of staff can do so in confidence by contacting our Student Support Centre. Confidential advice is also available through the Students’ Union. The University has robust policies in place to deal with inappropriate behaviour including disciplinary action where appropriate.” Lincolnshire police have been contacted for comment.
*All names were changed or omitted to ensure anonymity.
University is a great experience for most people however we don't always know exactly who we are living with. If you have any concerns about hidden cameras, please contact us for a confidential discussion.