Teacher accused of trying to take pictures of colleague on toilet was in women’s restroom because he was having a panic attack, court hears
PUBLISHED: 10:37 30 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:11 15 December 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A geography teacher accused of attempting to take pictures of a colleague on the toilet was only in the women’s restroom because he was having a panic attack, a court heard.
Stephen Hazle, 43, of Basil Mews, Newhall, in Harlow, Essex, made his defence at Snaresbrook Crown Court today, where he is on trial accused of six counts of voyeurism and one count of attempted voyeurism - all of which he denies.
Hazle said his anxiety was triggered by his dyslexia and he was on strong anti-depressants to control it; which caused side effects such as bowel problems.
The defendant said on June 18 last year he became anxious while preparing for a lesson at the Redbridge school and used the women’s staff toilets because the others were occupied.
He told the court: “I had my phone in my hand because I was trying to call [my wife] and I put it on the floor while I was leaning over the bowl.”
Hazle said he was not aware of anyone else being in the toilets.
“There was no way in my mind I was attempting to take any pictures,” he said.
Upon examining Hazle’s phone, police found images taken between November 26 and 28 the previous year, some of people’s legs/shoes allegedly taken under the partition wall of toilet cubicles.
Hazle said he had only just bought the phone at the time and shared it with his wife, who may have left it on the floor while she used the toilet.
The defendant claimed he bought a second-hand memory card, which could have already had the images on it.
He told the court: “I can’t say 100 per cent why the pictures were there. I can definitely say they weren’t there knowingly, they definitely weren’t there for any form of sexual gratification.”
The trial continues.