A trusted neighbour broke into a woman’s home and rifled through her underwear drawer – but didn’t realise he’d been captured on a secret camera.
Steven Gill had played the role of a good friend when he offered to house-sit or carry out odd-jobs at his next-door neighbour’s home.
But the victim grew suspicious of the 49-year-old married HGV driver when strange things started happening in their three-storey Skelton townhouse.
On one occasion when she left the house, she left her nicker drawer open – only to find it closed when she returned home.
Eventually the victim and her husband hid an Argos-bought, motion-sensitive camera in an owl cushion, disguising it as one of the bird’s eyes.
And what they discovered shocked them.
They recognised Gill walking into the home and rummaging through the victim’s belongings – before committing a sex act with one of her pop socks, as he watched a video on his phone.
Gill, who is understood to no longer live in Skelton, faced justice at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to burglary and stalking.
He was given a 12 month jail sentence – which was suspended for two years – and ordered to pay the victim £500 in compensation, along with £340 in court costs and charges.
Gill must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, and is subject to a five year restraining order, banning him from contact with the victim.
And he must also attend 32 days of a sex offender rehabilitation course.
The victim told a newspaper that the first time she became suspicious was when she saw him running downstairs in her home as she was changing her clothes.
“As I got ready I saw movement and caught sight of Steve running down the stairs,” she said.
“He later explained that he had gone up to look at our carpet which we’d had cleaned but now of course I believe differently.
“On another day as I was driving out of the estate I looked in my car’s rear view mirror and got a shock because I thought I saw a figure standing in our house.”
The victim said she suspected he was looking through her drawer, so she deliberately left it open – and sure enough, it was completely closed when she came home.
And describing the moment she watched her home-made CCTV footage, she said: “It was absolutely awful to see him walk into our room as though he owned the place, close the curtains have a peep outside and then head straight for my underwear drawer.
“It looked like something he’d become used to doing.”