A SERIAL peeping Tom who was ordered to address his issues by attending a sexual offender’s treatment programme was caught in a women’s public toilet directly after attending his first session.

Judge Sara Dodd described Haben Mihretab as a ‘danger to women with little chance of rehabilitation’ before jailing him for 22 months.

Mihretab, 22, of Heatley Close, Blackburn, has five previous convictions for voyeurism and was this week back in front of a judge at Preston Crown Court after being caught looking over cubicles in the female toilets at Fishergate shopping centre in the city in March.

The Eritrean national pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching the Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed by Burnley Crown Court in July 2019, failing to comply with registration requirements and observing a person in a private act.

The court heard how the defendant had been on his way back from attending his first session on a sexual offender’s treatment programme when he committed the act.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Prosecuting, Sara Haque said: “The victim was shopping on March 6 in the Fishergate Shopping Centre in Preston when she went in to use the toilets located near the escalators.

“She was wearing a jumpsuit style garment and effectively had to remove it to use the toilet. Having undressed and while seated she had the sensation of someone watching her and looked up to see the defendant watching her over the stall.

“She began screaming at the defendant, asking him what he was doing, and he stayed there and said, ‘I’m really sorry’ before moving out of view.”

The defendant was then seen leaving the shopping centre and entering the train station, where the victim identified him, leading to him being arrested by the British Transport Police.

An investigation following the incident revealed that Mihretab had been in the public bathroom for around 40 minutes with 68 women and one child entering to use the facilities during that period.

In a statement released after the event, the victim said she had been left traumatised.

Defending, Sharon Watson said that Mihretab’s offender manager had expressed concerns that he couldn’t be managed in the community.

Ms Watson said: “In reality, the only question is how long he has to serve. With that in mind I ask the court to consider the fact that he cooperated with the police from the outset.

“He had a traumatic journey from his homeland to this county when he was 16 years old. He has led a somewhat isolated and lonely existence.

“He has ruined his own future and it is highly likely that he has put his ability to remain in the UK in serious jeopardy.

“He says he said he is very sorry and he will never do it again.”

Sentencing Mihretab, to 22 months in prison, Judge Sara Dodd said she agreed with the defendant’s offender manager that he was a ‘danger to women’ with little hope of rehabilitation.

She said: “I have no idea what motivates you to watch women using the toilet. You tell me through your barrister that you won’t do it again, I have little confidence in that."

In September 2017 Mihretab was jailed for two offences of voyeurism in the toilets at Wigan train station and a pub in Wigan.

He received another prison sentence for voyeurism in August 2018 after being caught looking over the cubicle in the ladies toilets at the bowling alley in the Vue cinema in Blackburn. In July last year he was again jailed for looking over the toilets in the Tesco store in Accrington.