A prison officer who secretly filmed women showering at his New Zealand homestay and then posted the images online has been imprisoned.
Tony Greathead was sentenced to four years and four months behind bars by Judge Bridget Mackintosh at Hastings District Court on Tuesday, when a suppression order protecting his identity was also lifted.
The 36-year-old former policeman presented himself as a professional family man to his guests, but used remote-controlled cameras hidden in shampoo bottles to film 34 women as they showered at the Hawke’s Bay homestay on the North Island’s east coast between December 2017 and February this year.
Most of his victims were women aged under 30 who were allowed to use shower or kitchen facilities in the house by arrangement, with Greathead organising their shower times and arranging the cameras beforehand.
After the guest had showered he would download the videos onto his computer hard drive before posting a number to a website which describes itself as “a moral free file host where anything legal is hosted forever” and “where you can meet like-minded individuals”.
One has been viewed more than 7000 times.
The shampoo bottles were positioned to capture images of 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.
In August, Greathead 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.
Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said Greathead had 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.
He argued the filming was for Greathead’s sexual gratification and quoted from the comments he made on the footage posted online.
He said Greathead’s victims were horrified by what had happened and the images posted into “cyberspace” would be there forever, with 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.
Before moving to New Zealand with his family, Greathead was a police officer in England. He had no previous convictions and his lawyer argued he had undertaken rehabilitation since his arrest for what Judge Mackintosh termed an “intense addiction” to such online content.
She said Greathead had traded on his good character as a family man, prison officer and former police officer, while the victims were demeaned and degraded and the videos encouraged further distribution.
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”.
Greathead has been permanently banned from Airbnb.