Voyeur guilty of 13 offences at music festival

Exterior of St Albans Magistrates Court

Christopher Bicourt admitted the offences at St Albans Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

A 44-year-old who pleaded guilty to multiple charges of voyeurism at a North Herts music festival has appeared in court for sentencing. 

Christopher Bicourt, of Falmouth Road in London, admitted 13 counts of voyeurism at St Albans Magistrates' Court - the offences took place in the village of Newnham - between Baldock and Ashwell - on August 20 this year. 

The charges against Bicourt related to incidents at the inaugural Warm Up Festival - which featured techno music and a focus on wellness - in Bygrave Woods.

There were 12 counts of recording a person doing a private act without their knowledge or consent, to later view the image for Bicourt's own sexual gratification, and one count of observing a person without their knowledge for the same purpose.

He pleaded guilty on September 6 and was handed a suspended sentence on Wednesday last week - 24 weeks' jail time suspended for two years.

He must comply with certain requirements within the 24-month supervision - these are participation in an accredited programme for 35 days, and attending appointments. He must also pay a victims services surcharge of £128 and £85 in court costs.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for five years and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for that time. While the order is in force the defendant is subject to the prohibited from capturing still or moving footage of anyone without their prior permission in a public or private place and attending festival with any device capable of recording and storing media files.

He is also prohibited from using or possessing any device capable of accessing the internet or storing images unless he has notified the police within three days of the acquisition of any such device. The device must retain history of internet use, that history isn't deleted and the device must be immediately available for inspection by the police. 

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Investigator Abby Palmer said: “Chris Bicourt was quickly arrested after one of his victims noticed his suspicious behaviour and alerted the on-site security team. I’d like to start by thanking her for coming forward and her bravery in raising the alarm.

“His vile behaviour is evident from his targeted actions and specialist equipment he was found to be in possession of at the time of his arrest. The actions of Bicourt are deeply disturbing, and understandably left his victims feeling completely violated.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of any form of sexual abuse to report it to police. Please be assured that you will always be treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect from us.”

Around 3,000 people attended Warm Up Festival for electronic dance music fans in Bygrave Woods from August, 19 to 23. 

A statement from Warm Up Festival said: "Warm Up Festival takes the safety and security of event attendees very seriously and as such is contracted with an experienced, licensed security firm.

"The vigilance of officers on duty meant that the perpetrator was identified and detained quickly. The victim was supported by trained welfare staff.

"Unfortunately, in any large gathering there is potential for criminal activity. Hopefully, the arrest and successful prosecution of this individual will send a clear message: we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour at our events.

"Keeping our customers safe is our number one priority, and we will continue to be extra vigilant in monitoring and maintaining a safe environment at the festival."


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