Name suppression for Target carpet cleaner

By Edward Gay

A cleaner commits an indecent act in a customers home as captured by the TV3 programme Target Photo/ TV3
A cleaner commits an indecent act in a customers home as captured by the TV3 programme Target Photo/ TV3

A carpet cleaner caught on camera doing lewd acts at a woman's house will keep his name secret forever.

The 37 year-old father of two was supported at the Manukau District Court today by his wife and brother when he was sentenced to 100 hours' community work and 12 months' supervision.

The cleaner, who has since lost his job, had earlier pleaded guilty to burglary and wilfully accessing a computer.

He was captured on hidden cameras in a sting by TV3's Target programme in May and arrested after the story was aired on national television.

The footage showed the man apparently rifling through drawers of the Target television actress posing as a customer after he was called to her house to clean the carpets.

He also pulled a pair of woman's underwear out of the laundry basket and repeatedly touched them and sniffed them.

He was seen walking from room to room, taking soap from the bathroom and looking at more personal items in a spare room before turning on a computer in the living room and connecting to the internet.

He could then be seen kneeling in front of the computer.

The Target footage attracted over 150,000 views online after it was aired.

Judge Anna Johns told the court that the man logged on to the woman's computer and looked at explicit pictures on a website.

Today she heard arguments from the man's lawyer, Nicole Smith, and police lawyer Harvena Hudson over the issue of name suppression.

The police had opposed permanent name suppression, arguing that a strong message needed to be sent to other tradesmen who were let into people's homes on a daily basis.

Ms Hudson said the starting point for all cases had to be open reporting and suspicion had fallen on other carpet cleaners.

Ms Smith said the public were aware the man had lost his job.

Judge Johns said the man's offending had had a "huge impact" on the man's wife and wider family.

She sited a psychiatric report that found the man had a condition and publishing his name could have a devastating impact on him.

In sentencing, Judge Johns took time off for his early guilty plea, remorse and his previous good record.

Outside court the man's brother said he had no comment to make on the case.

The carpet cleaner ran from media and his wife also declined to be interviewed.

The company that the man worked for has not been revealed.

However, it seems the case has not had an effect on the wider carpet cleaning business.

JAE cleaners group has been in the business 46 years. Manager Kathryn Lee said she did not know where the man worked but it the case was talked about in the industry.

She said there has been no drop-off in business.

"Most people have used their common sense and realised this one is out of the blue ... So during these tough times, that's a bonus."

Ms Lee said it had reminded those in the business to carry out background checks when hiring and make sure they had their behaviour codes in order.

- APNZ

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