Sex 'predator' hid upskirt footage in a sock

CHILDREN were secretly filmed at a Gold Coast water park by a New Zealand national who used the videos to satisfy his own sexual urges.

The videos featuring girls between the ages of 12 and 14 were taken at Wet N' Wild by Mac Roy Tipuna James McFarlane who made at least two trips to the park between 2012 and 2015.

McFarlane, 29 also planted cameras in shopping centre change rooms about once a week to capture 'up skirt' footage of young women trying on clothes.

The labourer's crimes were discovered by police after a USB drive was found under his bed at a work camp in Roma, Ipswich District Court heard on Thursday.

The USB storage device was one of 23 that McFarlane usually concealed in a sock and all contained videos and images of children, some in sexually suggestive poses.

Police found 238 videos and 243 images of young girls stored on the drives that McFarlane admitted were used for his own sexual gratification.

Crown prosecutor Matt Le Grand said McFarlane targeted specific girls who looked about 14-years-old at Wet N' Wild, followed them and strategically positioned himself to capture them on video.

Other images and videos had been downloaded from websites, Mr Le Grand told the court.

"His behaviour was predatory in nature. He selected targets and waited in nearby locations," Mr Le Grand said.

"The offending as a whole represents a large intrusion of privacy to a great number of people."

McFarlane, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was arrested in July 2015 and has been kept in custody since.

He has been living in Australia for seven years, but his visa has been suspended since the charges were laid.

Defence barrister Andrew West said once released McFarlane would be deported.

He offered no background information on McFarlane's behaviour saying only "he doesn't know why he did it."

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said given the offences were calculated and committed over a number of years it was clear McFarlane "had a number of issues to overcome".

"Obviously it is abhorrent behaviour," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

"Children and their parents rightly expect children can go to these places, shopping centres and theme parks, without being filmed in this disgusting way for your own self sexual gratification."

He said while the videos showed no clear identifiable people, each of the children filmed was a victim and that it was fortunate they were not aware of it.

McFarlane was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment, but has already spent 283 days in custody and will therefore be eligible for parole on August 28.

Topics:  editors picks ipswich district court

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