A COURT has heard how a woman who was shopping in a Carlisle supermarket unwittingly became the victim of an ‘upskirting’ offence.

At the city’s Rickergate court, Dean Craig, 24, pleaded guilty to the charge.

An alert security guard at the Church Street branch of Sainsbury’s spotted the defendant commit the offence as the victim shopped at the store on September 10.

Prosecutor Pam Ward said the woman, who did not know Craig, was browsing in the store at around 7.30am when the defendant began secretly approaching her from behind and taking pictures.

CCTV showed him crouch behind her and reach out, with a mobile phone in his hand.

“The defendant appeared to take photos on four separate occasions,” said Mrs Ward.

“The lady was unaware of what was happening throughout the whole incident.”

In court, the victim read aloud an emotional victim impact statement.

She outlined the profound impact of realising that she had been the victim of a sexual offence committed by a complete stranger.

“I felt incredibly vulnerable,” she said. “And I continued to feel this way for the reminder of the day, as well as periodically since then.”

The woman, in her mid 60s, initially feared she may have been deliberately rather than randomly targeted.

She wondered whether he had followed her, and found herself changing her movements, afraid that the defendant may be watching her.

The woman decided to view the video footage of Craig as he committed the offence.

“It was horrible to watch, and I was completely amazed at how someone could be so close to me, with such sinister intentions, and how I was still unaware,” she said.

Anthony Wilson, for the defendant, of Freer Court, Carlisle, said he wanted to sincerely apologise to the victim.

“It wasn’t premeditated,” said the lawyer.

“He described his actions in his police interview as a moment of madness; and that is exactly what it was.”

Mr Wilson added that the defendant, a man of previous good character, faced the embarrassment and humiliation of telling his girlfriend why he had been arrested.

Magistrates will sentence Craig later today after a Probation Service background report is prepared.

If he is given a community order of a year or more, his name will have to go on to the Sex Offenders’ Register. Mr Wilson said that would be disproportionate.