UK police helicopter crew cleared over filming naked sunbathers, couple having sex on patio
Two police officers and two pilots accused of misusing a police helicopter to film naked sunbathers and a couple having sex have been cleared of all charges.
The South Yorkshire police crew were accused of “a gross waste of valuable resources” by using the aircraft to make illicit recordings.
A woman was filmed sunbathing naked with her daughters, aged 18 and 15, who were wearing bikinis, in her garden and a couple were filmed having sexual intercourse on the patio of their suburban house.
Matthew Lucas, 42, and Lee Walls, 47, who are serving South Yorkshire police officers, Malcolm Reeves, 64, a retired pilot, and Matthew Loosemore, 45, a former pilot with the force, were charged with misconduct in a public office. But they blamed Adrian Pogmore, 51, formerly of South Yorkshire police, who shot the footage and was the only person in the aircraft when all four of the offending videos were filmed.
Pogmore, from Whiston in Rotherham, was described by prosecutors as “a swinging and sex-obsessed air observer”. He had previously admitted four charges of misconduct in a public office. He was not in court for the trial.
The other men said they did not know what Pogmore was doing as he filmed the sequences using the helicopter’s high-powered camera.
A jury of six men and six women at Sheffield crown court accepted their explanation, clearing them of the charges.
The jury had been shown footage shot from the aircraft, including an 11-minute sequence of a couple having sex on their patio in a range of positions. In the footage the man is wearing only a Manchester United shirt and at one point the woman waves at the helicopter.
Pogmore knew the couple through his interest in swinging. The court heard that he had previously had sex with the woman in the footage. He has already been sacked by South Yorkshire police and will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said: “You may hope that the police helicopter is chasing down criminals and keeping the community safe. You may never imagine that in fact it is being used to film a pair of swingers in the throes of sexual passion.”
Footage of naturists on a campsite was also shown to the jury, as well as another recording of people sunbathing naked.
The woman who was filmed sunbathing nude with her daughters in her garden felt “sick” at the thought of being recorded, which was “a complete and utter violation” of her privacy, the court heard.
Some of the defendants appeared to be in tears after the jury foreman returned the verdicts after four hours of deliberation.
Their families in the public gallery overlooking the court hugged each other and cried.
As Lucas left the courtroom he said “thank you” to the jury.
The prosecution stemmed from recordings found in Pogmore’s desk drawer at a police station in 2015.