The 'Grey Lynn peeping Tom', who secretly recorded women undressing and couples having sex, was jailed on Thursday for three years and six months. One victim tells NZME about how such offending affected her.
for videoing numerous women in Auckland.
I have been spied on.
It is difficult to describe the feeling of having your privacy completely violated. We're always warned to watch out for strangers when we're alone.
Rarely do you think something could happen to you in the warm safety of your own home.
It was a hot Auckland summer night. The kind where dense heat is inescapable, even after the sun goes down.
At the time I was flatting in an old Grey Lynn villa. The windows were high and opened wide, covered by spindly bamboo blinds, which did little to keep the light out. I came to hate those blinds.
I was lounging on my bed video calling my friend, wearing pyjama shorts and a t-shirt in the muggy heat. My friend was overseas and during our hour-long call I'd given her a full run-down of everything that was happening in my life. I told her I missed her. Then we hung up the call.
At the time I was living with four other young women for the summer. We didn't know each other and the only thing we really had in common was we needed a place to live. One of them had just come over from France. She was nice but spoke very broken English. My French is rubbish - so we didn't really connect.
After I hung up the call, the French girl burst through my door in a fluster, yelling "a man, a man" and frantically pointed at my open bedroom windows.
Realisation set in and a chill spread across my body.
She'd seen 'the man' as she was walking to the front door, their eyes met before he took off, running down the side of the house.
Inside, we fumbled around with phones. I fired her questions that she couldn't keep up with. Breathless, I called my mum, the Auckland Central Police Station and eventually 111.
I don't know why I didn't call 111 straight away. I'd never been involved in anything like this before and I guess dialling that meant this was really happening to me.
The police arrived, they brought a dog. The dog scampered around the side of the house looking for a scent but came up with nothing.
One cop checked my window and doors, coming to the conclusion that yes, the blinds were crap and yes, the old house was very easy to break into.
The policeman told me I should have called them sooner, gave me his cell phone number (in case of an emergency) and told me to have a drink and calm down.
In broken English my flatmate tried to describe the man to the police. She said he looked like a "Kiwi man". It was almost funny - except that it wasn't. She said he had a phone and couldn't tell if he was filming.
The police couldn't get much more out of her and left.
I thought about begging them to stay.
I've never felt more on-edge than I did in the months to come. I didn't feel safe anywhere, at supermarket, at the gym. I constantly felt like I was being watched. I would run from the house to get to my car, made barricades with furniture in front of my bedroom door and covered the windows at all times.
My flatmates probably thought I was crazy. I sort of felt like I was.
I barely slept and counted down the hours when I could go to work, safe in the knowledge it was swipe card access only and there was a security guard downstairs.
The Grey Lynn peeping Tom tormented several women before being caught and eventually charged.
Now he has been sentenced. I'm pleased to know he can't make any more women feel this way or escalate his behaviour into worse crime.
But honestly I don't really care. I learnt that, sadly, women are always the victims of these kinds of crimes, and many more. No matter what you do to try and protect yourself.
The sad thing is, I still catch myself glancing outside my bedroom window, and barricading my bedroom door at night.