Sex offender evades jail for secretly filming women

Christopher Ralls, 71, of Rose Walk, Goring, outside Worthing Magistrates' Court. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Christopher Ralls, 71, of Rose Walk, Goring, outside Worthing Magistrates' Court. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

A sex offender has avoided going to prison for secretly filming women while they were in a state of undress.

Christopher Ralls, 71, of Rose Walk, Goring, appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today (March 10) for sentencing, having already pleaded guilty to four counts of voyeurism.

These are matters which are obviously serious and very, very upsetting for the victims concerned, and we have them at the forefront of our minds

Christopher Hough

The court heard how Ralls filmed four women using a hidden camera at an address in Worthing.

He was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 20 rehabilitation days and 300 hours of unpaid work. He was placed on the sex offenders register and was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to each of the victims and £165 in other costs.

Chairman of the bench, magistrate Christopher Hough, said they decided not to send the case to crown court for sentencing so the victims would not have to go through ‘a harrowing experience’.

He added: “These are matters which are obviously serious and very, very upsetting for the victims concerned, and we have them at the forefront of our minds,” he said. “Upon reflection it has been upsetting for you and your family too; it is a situation I am sure no-one is terribly happy with.”

Mr Hough said the reason they decided to suspend the sentence was because of Ralls’ age and the fact he did not distribute the images, had no previous convictions and ‘appeared to be remorseful’.

The four victims had given statements about their ordeals. One of the women said: “When I was first told, it took a few moments to comprehend what I heard, and that is when the feelings of hurt, angry, upset, sick, violated, mortified, disgusted and many more came flooding in.”

She went on to say what happened ‘is enough to crush someone’s self esteem, dignity and trust’.

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