The man who filmed women using the shower in his Airbnb homestay then uploaded the videos to a porn site has lost name suppression and has been sent to prison for four years and four months.
Tony Greathead, 36, was sentenced in Hastings District Court on Tuesday.
Greathead, a former prison officer, presented himself as a good family man to his guests, but filmed 34 women as they showered in the Hastings homestay between December 2017 and the date of his arrest in February this year.
After arranging the time he would place one or two covert cameras, disguised in shampoo bottles, in the bathroom and shower. He activated the cameras by remote control.
After the guest had showered he would put the shampoo bottles away. Then he would stay up late at night retrieving the cameras and downloading the videos onto his computer hard drive.
He created a profile on a pornographic website, which describes itself as “a moral free file host where anything legal is hosted forever” and “where you can meet like-minded individuals”.
In August he pleaded guilty to 51 charges of making an intimate visual recording, seven charges of knowingly making an objectionable publication, seven charges of knowingly distributing an objectionable publication and four charges of publishing an intimate visual recording.
Eleven of the videos put on a pornography website and shared worldwide. One had been viewed more than 7000 times.
Prior to coming to New Zealand with his family Greathead, a Kiwi, had been a police officer in England.
Before Judge Bridget Mackintosh on Tuesday Greathead’s lawyer Matt Phelps said there would be no application for final name suppression.
He said there was a lack of authority around this type of offending as it relates to making, publishing and editing the videos and sentencing was a difficult matter.
He said the nature of the material published had not involved child victims as other cases had.
He also noted Greathead’s life, and his family’s had been “turned on its head” after his arrest, and he had subsequently undertaken rehabilitation. He had no previous convictions.
He noted the early guilty plea and said a prison sentence of 3-4 years was appropriate.
Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said the filming was done for Greathead’s sexual gratification and quoted from the comments he made on the footage posted online.
He said the images posted into “cyberspace” would be there forever and there was no way of knowing how many had been downloaded.
The women were objectified and ridiculed, Manning said, and the offending was marked by the fact that he made the images, published them and distributed them with his comments on them.
The victims were horrified by what had happened to them, Manning said.
He said Greathead had also caused harm to the homestay and Airbnb industry in Hawke’s Bay and had led some tourists to question what sort of place New Zealand was.
Judge Mackintosh said it was Greathead’s “Intense addiction” to online pornography that led to the offending.
She said he obviously had “serious issues you have to address”.
She said Greathead had traded on his good character as a family man, prison officer and former police officer when offending and noted the fact that he was now relying on that good character as a mitigating factor at sentencing.
The victims were demeaned and degraded and the videos encouraged further distribution, she said.
Judge Mackintosh sentenced him to four years and four months in prison. The victims identities are suppressed.
Most of Greathead’s guests were females aged under 30. They could use the shower or kitchen facilities in the house by arrangement, and the man usually organised the shower times with guests.
The shampoo bottles were positioned to record the guests’ bodies between their shoulders and knees, but faces were often visible when they bent down.
The recordings also captured guests undressing and dressing.
Three victims appeared on four videos in which he described the victim by race and occupation and urged viewers to leave positive comments to encourage him to make more recordings.
On other videos he went a step further by adding commentary about the victim’s personal characteristics, the acts he would like them to perform, and how he had violated their privacy without their knowledge.
He built trust with them by representing himself as a professional family man.
The victims had stayed at the house for between one night and two weeks.
Police sent seven of the recordings to the Office of Film and Literature Classification, which said all were objectionable material because they promoted and encouraged the criminal acts of making and distributing intimate visual recordings “to such an extent and degree that their availability is likely to be injurious to public good”.
The office said the recordings “also degrade and demean their subjects to a high extent and degree by exposing their subject’s nudity and making them identifiable, and for the derogatory comments about their bodies which are strongly sexually objectifying”.
Police found 219 recordings of 34 victims on the hard drive. The recordings showed all the victims’ genitals, breasts and buttocks. None had been aware they were being filmed.
In victim impact statements supplied to the court they explain how they felt shocked, ashamed, angered and degraded.
Police were able to locate the victims with the assistance of a website that advertised the homestay.
Police made Greathead remove the videos from the website and delete his account.
When arrested he told police there was no sexual element to his offending and that he had “done it for the thrill and risk of being caught”.
An Airbnb spokesperson said the company had fully supported the Police investigation and victims and “we’re pleased that justice has been served”.
“We take privacy extremely seriously and there is no place in our community for this type of egregious behaviour,” he said.
“Cameras are never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms and any other camera must be disclosed ahead of time”.
He said Greathead had been permanently banned from Airbnb.
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