National Police officers arrest the man. / CNP

Eight-year prison sentence demanded for man who recorded 71,000 videos of women in public toilets with the help of his niece

The Prosecutor's Office accuses the pair of installing spy cameras hidden in air fresheners in restaurant and shopping centre toilets in Malaga

JUAN CANO / ÁLVARO FRÍAS

Prosecutors are calling for an eight-year jail sentence for a man who, allegedly, installed spy cameras in public toilets in Malaga and filmed at least 71,000 people.

The devices he used were homemade and had the appearance of air fresheners. But inside they hid spy cameras with motion sensors to record the women who used the public toilets in restaurants, shopping centres and university facilities where his neice installed them.

The Malaga Public Prosecutor’s Office is asking for the accused and his relative - who supposedly helped him - to be given eight-year prison sentences.

At least 71,080 victims

Sources say there were at least 71,080 victims – according to the number of video files that were recovered: "The vast majority of them were women, including minors alone or accompanied - even young girls - and people with disabilities."

However, National Police officers believe that the number could be even higher. Because the devices worked with motion sensors, if the next user entered the toilet immediately after, the images were stored in the same file. In some of the recovered videos, two, three and even four women appear, so, according to the investigators, the real number of victims could exceed 100,000.

According to court papers, the accused man acted in collaboration with his niece, "who, being a woman, could access the toilets without raising suspicion. In fact, investigating police officers first identified the young woman after maintenance personnel at the Vialia shopping centre found eight devices installed in the toilets. In the retrieved recordings, the police spotted the woman who placed the hidden cameras as the motion sensor had triggered the device. Her face was not visible, but part of her clothing was - specifically, some very striking tights.

With discretion, police began to monitor the toilets to identify the person removing the cameras. They spotted a young woman who was wearing a tracksuit and the same type of tights. When checking the video surveillance cameras of the shopping centre, they saw that outside a man was waiting for her. Investigators reviewed, one by one, all the vehicles that entered and left Vialia in the time slot and looked at about 200 cars until they found a car that matched the man caught on CCTV cameras.

Child pornography

The uncle and niece were arrested and, in the search of the house of the main suspect, 71,080 videos of women using toilets were found. Police also discovered 120 videos of child pornography downloaded from the internet, 2,300 photographs of naked children and 1,187 videos in which the accused man had sexual relations with various women recorded with a hidden camera.

In addition, 85 camouflaged devices, 27 micro-cameras with motion sensors and 21 batteries were recovered. Police also found a plastic bag with 2,100 grammes of marijuana.

The prosecutor considers that the recordings were made for the purpose of obtaining financial gain, uploading the videos to a website. The police thwarted their plans, however, and say that the illegally obtained images have not been distributed.