'Sex addict' sentenced for toilet camera

Photo / File / Thinkstock
Photo / File / Thinkstock

A head paper conservator who has previously worked in Auckland has been sentenced for installing a secret camera in a toilet at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

A British court has heard Michael Wheeler, 54, an expert in ancient manuscripts at the museum, installed the camera for his own sexual gratification.

He has been sentenced to 12 months supervision after pleading guilty to charges of voyeurism, the Daily Mail newspaper reports.

The Hammersmith Magistrates Court heard Wheeler, who has lectured all over the world including in New Zealand, also kept a collection of women's clothes, wigs and make-up under his desk and told police: "I suffer from a sexual addiction."

He also filmed himself installing the covert camera inside the toilet door's coat hook.

"Clearly you gave some thought to this and there were two devices for recording," District Judge James Henderson told Wheeler, who worked as the head paper conservator at the Auckland City Art Gallery in the late 1980s.

Prosecutor Tom Gill told the court a woman using a staff disabled toilet on the fourth floor of the Victoria and Albert Museum found the covert camera on August 10.

"The memory card was viewed and among the images of males and females using the lavatory was this defendant attaching the camera and sitting back and viewing his handiwork," Mr Gill said.

Wheeler was also ordered to sign a sex offenders register for five years, attend up to 25 counselling sessions and pay £85 (NZ$160) in court costs.

Defence lawyer Hulus Ali said Wheeler had already started attending counselling.

"He may have lost his job, but his wife is in employment and he has over £20,000 (NZ$38,000) in savings and can easily afford these sessions," Mr Ali said.

The Daily Mail reports that Wheeler has lectured in Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Finland, India and Singapore and advised on projects in India and Egypt.

In 1990 he was awarded the Andrew W Mellon fellowship at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He is also an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation since 2000 and is a member of the professional accreditation committee.

- APNZ

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