Manchester sex offender, 51, who upskirted women waiting for train is spared jail  1

Manchester sex offender, 51, who upskirted women waiting for train is spared jail 

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A sexual offender who ‘upskirted’ a woman at Manchester Piccadilly train station in July last year has been spared jail. 

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Andrew Mackie, 51, used a mobile phone to take pictures of the victim’s bare legs, skirt and crotch area as she sat waited for a train.

Magistrates handed him a 24 week suspended prison sentence and ordered him to carry out 30 rehabilitation requirement days and electronic monitoring for six months.

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Mackie – who is also known as ‘Smoggie’ according to court documents – was confronted by police officers at the station where he told them: ‘It’s a public place.’

The defendant, from Warrington, has a long record of similar offences dating back several years.

Andrew Mackie, 51, from Warrington has a history of sexual offences in the past but his solicitor argued that his 'significant' period without offending meant he should be spared jail

Andrew Mackie, 51, from Warrington has a history of sexual offences in the past but his solicitor argued that his ‘significant’ period without offending meant he should be spared jail

However, his solicitor told magistrates that he managed a ‘significant’ period without offending until the pandemic brought an abrupt end to support he had been receiving.

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Mackie initially denied operating equipment beneath clothing of another without consent and was due to stand trial in September.

But he changed his plea and admitted the charge on the day of trial.

Alongside his suspended sentence, he was ordered to pay £500 court costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

Magistrates also made Mackie the subject of a sexual harm prevention order. 

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Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court yesterday heard how Mackie was seen at the railway station on July 31 of last year. 

Mackie used a mobile phone to upskirt a woman at Manchester Piccadilly railway station in July 2020

Mackie used a mobile phone to upskirt a woman at Manchester Piccadilly railway station in July 2020

Prosecutor Jade Coleman said a member of staff made British Transport Police officers aware of a man taking pictures on the station concourse at around 4.45pm.

The prosecutor – who described the offence as ‘upskirting’ – said Mackie had taken images of a young woman who was sitting on a bench outside Platform 7 unaware of what he was doing. 

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Mackie was pointed out to officers, who took him to a quiet place to talk.

The defendant showed his phone to the officers, who found images of a number of females who appeared to be walking around on the street, seemingly ‘unaware’ of pictures being taken.

Mrs Coleman said the images showed legs and buttocks taken from behind.

When asked what he was doing, Mackie said: ‘It’s a public place’, Mrs Coleman said.

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He then took out a second mobile phone, which he claimed was broken.

Images of the victim were found on the phone which appeared to show her bare legs, skirt and crotch area, the prosecutor said.

Mackie was arrested, taken to a local police station and interviewed.

In a statement read out to magistrates, the victim said the incident had made her ‘paranoid about people who may watch me’.

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She added: ‘I find myself always checking behind me and worrying the same thing will happen again.

‘I didn’t realise that taking pictures in this way was a thing before this incident but it has definitely made me more anxious about being out in public.’

Images of the victim's bare legs, skirt and crotch area were found on Mackie's phone by police

Images of the victim’s bare legs, skirt and crotch area were found on Mackie’s phone by police

Mrs Coleman said Mackie has a number of previous convictions, including for indecent assault of a female over 16, making malicious communications and voyeurism.

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He has also breached a sexual harm prevention order ‘numerous’ times, the prosecutor said.

Oliver Gardener, defending, said his client has had ‘a lifetime up until 2016 littered with offending of a very similar nature and no matter what the courts said or did nothing has worked’.

But he said it is ‘significant’ that Mackie has stayed out of trouble over the last four and a half years.

‘On paper, he looks like a sexual deviant who is persistent and undeterred. But the reality is somewhat very different,’ he said.

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Mr Gardener said Mackie suffered a serious trauma in childhood which was undisclosed for many years.

Describing Mackie as a ‘loner’, he added that he had been ‘bullied’ at school and people thought he was ‘odd’.

His defence described Mackie as a 'loner' and said that he had been 'bullied' at school

His defence described Mackie as a ‘loner’ and said that he had been ‘bullied’ at school

Mr Gardener said his client becomes ‘fixated’ on people and things, sending emails, letters and making phone calls.

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He was diagnosed with autism in his mid 40s, he said.

‘The support he was receiving has disappeared because of Covid,’ Mr Gardener added.

The lawyer asked magistrates to ‘allow him one blip’ and suspend Mackie’s sentence. 

The chair of the bench told the defendant: ‘You have a challenging time ahead of you Mr Mackie.

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‘Please work with probation with that. They will give you the additional support you need.’

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