A school governor quit his role just 24 hours after being arrested for a series of ‘creepy’ acts in his neighbour’s home.
Michael Morrey, 62, went into a neighbouring house on Ambleside, Aylesbury, on several occasions, taking photos of personal items including women’s underwear in a laundry bin.
After being discovered in the house once, Morrey was later caught on camera and arrested on October 22.
A teacher for many years, Morrey was chair of governors at The Grange and head of Bucks County Council’s Schools Forum.
He resigned from his position at The Grange on October 23, citing ‘personal reasons’, a move which forced him to stand down from the council committee. At his sentencing at Luton Magistrates’ Court last week, a statement from Jane Shannon, Morrey’s neighbour, was read out by prosecutor Joy Gir.
Mrs Shannon said in her statement: “The nature of the incidents has left me feeling uncomfortable.
“When I first found out I was in total shock. I found myself shaking in fear for a few days and I couldn’t believe it was happening. Knowing Michael has been taking photos inside my house is quite creepy and not knowing what he’s doing with them afterwards alarms me.”
The court heard that on one occasion Mrs Shannon’s husband, Matthew, came home to find Morrey stood in the living room in his pyjamas and dressing gown.
Married Morrey told Mr Shannon he had found the front door open and was checking everything was OK.
Following this, the Shannon’s put a recording device in their hallway. When Mrs Shannon looked at footage on October 22, she saw Morrey had come into the house.
Ms Gir said: “He left the address but returned a second time and began taking photos inside the house. The footage showed him looking through a calendar in the hallway and a private diary.”
Morrey was subsequently arrested and police discovered he had keys which opened both doors to the victims’ home and had taken other photos.
The court also heard there had been incidents in 2008 and 2009 when a man had been discovered in the house and that the whole affair has had a lasting impact on the Shannon family.
Mrs Shannon said in her statement: “There have been times where I have not been able to find personal things like make-up and it has made me think the defendant has taken those.
“I find it frustrating not knowing and I worry about the whole incident.”
It has also had an effect on the Shannon’s two daughters, who have since become concerned about visiting the property for fear they might find Morrey there.
Defending, Christopher Fairweather said Morrey was ‘remorseful’ for what he did.
Mr Fairweather said: “Mr Morrey did not believe that his actions would be discovered and therefore he concluded that without discovery there would be no impact on the victim. Clearly detection of the offence has resulted in a considerable impact on the victims and his family.
“There is something in his behaviour which he cannot understand. It has had a devastating effect on those that are close to him.
“He is someone of good character who has had a professional life and has given his free time to the community.”
Sentencing, magistrate Veronica Farrow said there was a ‘sexual element’ to Morrey’s behaviour.
She told Morrey: “You have blamed everyone but the perpetrator. If you had not been caught on camera you would still be causing distress to your neighbour. We view this as a very serious offence.”
Morrey, who pleaded guilty to stalking, was told he must attend a sex offence treatment programme and was given a restraining order preventing him from entering his neighbours’ property or contacting them.
He was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation and other costs.