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Upskirting: Man spared jail for Liverpool Street station offence

Liverpool Street station Image copyright Google
Image caption Neil Abbott took the photo as his victim queued for food at Liverpool Street station last summer

A businessman who took a picture up a woman's skirt as she queued for food on a night out has been spared jail.

Neil Abbott pushed through a queue to take the photo at London's Liverpool Street station in August.

Abbott, 32, of Maxwell Road, Romford, east London, previously admitted one charge of outraging public decency.

The judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court said he was only spared jail because of his early plea and previous good character.

District judge Vanessa Baraitser said: "I have no doubt this was a serious, unpleasant and deliberate offence.

"It was quite clearly degrading to the victim. She was quite clearly distressed and repulsed by your behaviour."

'Dumbest decision'

Abbott was given a 280-hour community service order, told to pay £1,000 in compensation to the victim, given a rehabilitation activity requirement, and ordered to pay an additional £170 in costs and surcharges.

Prosecutor Simon Maughan said he was spotted jumping the queue at the Mi Casa Burritos shop to take a picture of the 20-year-old victim.

A witness said: "He took his phone from his pocket and proceeded to take a picture underneath her skirt.

"He wasn't rushing, it was almost like he had done it before."

More than 30 other upskirting pictures were later found on his phone. The court heard they were downloaded images rather than ones he had taken himself.

The victim told police she felt "repulsed" by his actions.

Defending, Kerrie Rowan said Abbott was paying the price for what he described as the "dumbest decision" of his life.

The court heard he had lost his job and had mental health problems since his conviction.

On 12 April, upskirting became a specific offence punishable by up to two years in jail.

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