Rector Martin Thrower sentenced for filming teen in public toilet

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The Very Rev Martin ThrowerImage source, Google/Church of England
Image caption,
The Very Reverend Martin Thrower, rector of Hadleigh, Layham and Shelley, previously admitted two charges of voyeurism

A clergyman who admitted filming a 17-year-old youth in a public toilet has been given a four month suspended sentence.

The Very Reverend Martin Thrower, 56, rector of Hadleigh, Suffolk, held his mobile phone over the top of a toilet cubicle, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Thrower was arrested at a shopping centre in Ipswich in August 2016.

He admitted two counts of voyeurism at a previous hearing and his sentence was suspended for 24 months.

Thrower was ordered to complete a 60-day course to address sex offending behaviour, and must attend a further 30-day rehabilitation course.

Image caption,
Thrower, of Church Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, is rector of Hadleigh, Layham and Shelley

William Carter, prosecuting, said the rector was caught when a 17-year-old heard a noise above him as he sat on the toilet at the Buttermarket shopping centre.

The teenager saw someone's hand holding a mobile phone that was filming him over the cubicle partition. He grabbed the phone and Thrower was arrested.

Passing sentence earlier, judge Katharine Moore told Thrower he had been "well-regarded" by those he had helped, adding he had been a listening ear "in times of great sadness and some in happier times".

She told him: "It seems to me that there has been a tendency throughout to attribute this persistent behaviour over a two-year period to a breakdown in your mental health.

"I accept without reservation that you were working very hard.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
At interview, Martin Thrower said he had been taking such footage "for a couple of years since 2014"

"I do not accept that your actions here though were anything other than an exercise of free choice repeated again and again when you thought you could get away with it in public lavatories."

When Thrower was arrested, officers found three further videos recorded on the phone that day, including of two men who had not noticed they were being filmed.

Thrower, of Church Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, is rector of Hadleigh, Layham and Shelley.

He has been suspended from all roles by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury in Ipswich.

Stephen Nelson, mitigating, said Thrower was of previous good character and "deeply remorseful".

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