Gardening expert Stephen Brookes jailed for bathroom camera

Gardening expert and TV presenter Stephen Brookes arriving at Warwick Crown Court, Leamington Spa to be sentenced after he rigged up a hidden camera to record women using a bathroom.
Gardening expert and TV presenter Stephen Brookes arriving at Warwick Crown Court, Leamington Spa to be sentenced after he rigged up a hidden camera to record women using a bathroom.

A disgraced gardening expert and TV presenter who set up a hidden camera to film women using a bathroom has been jailed for 12 months.

Stephen Brookes was also ordered to register as a sex offender for seven years after a court heard that his “vile and repulsive” actions had left his victims feeling violated and disgusted – and his career in ruins.

Brookes, who admitted charges of voyeurism last month, has worked with several broadcasters on numerous shows, including a gardening phone-in on BBC local radio in the Coventry and Warwickshire area.

Warwick Crown Court was told that the 55-year-old concealed a motion-sensitive camera inside an air freshener, allowing him to watch seven young women “in real time” as he recorded more than 180 videos over almost a year.

The married grandfather, of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was arrested last September after one of his victims discovered the camera and alerted police.

Sentencing Brookes, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said references put before the court, including some from charity groups, painted a picture of a public-spirited family man.

Addressing Brookes’ background and his offending, the judge told him: “You have made a significant contribution, both to the horticultural industry and to the charitable causes you have supported.

“What I have to deal with is these criminal offences – which are a completely different side of your character and one that is unrecognisable to those who know and love you.

“There was really significant planning. You were intervening on a daily basis and moving the position of the camera and maximising what you could see.

“There was a link between the camera and your phone so you could watch in real time.”