A registered sex offender who was tracked down by facial recognition technology after filming a teenage girl in public toilets in Warrington has been jailed.
Dorniel Nica, 28, of Cherry Road, Chester was sentenced to 36 weeks imprisonment at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Monday 21 November.
He was also handed two restraining orders against two girls and ordered to pay court costs.
The court heard how on 2 October a teenage girl had been in a cubicle of public toilets in Golden Square Shopping Centre after feeling sick when she saw a hand holding a black iPhone coming from the underneath the neighbouring cubicle.
She believed the phone was recording and that there had been a man in the cubicle next to her as she could hear what she thought to be a man masturbating.
The girl’s friend had gone to get her a drink of water and when she returned, they both left the toilet area but did not see the man.
They then approached two officers at Warrington Bus Station and told them what had happened.
The officers went to the toilets and searched the area but found no trace of the man.
After making further enquiries, the officers checked CCTV at the shopping centre. It showed a man entering the female toilets at 5.12pm and leaving at 5.55pm.
The man was then seen wandering around the shopping centre before leaving.
Officers took an image of the man from the CCTV and submitted it through Retrospective Facial Recognition software.
The search returned a match for Dorniel Nica and officers set about making enquiries as to his whereabouts.
Nica was arrested the following morning at an address in Warrington on suspicion of voyeurism. Nica was in possession of a mobile phone which was seized by police.
He was then subsequently charged with voyeurism and attempting to observe a person doing a private act.
Police Constable Wendy Whitehead, officer in the case, said: “If it wasn’t for the bravery of the victim for approaching the first police officers she had seen we may not have been able to achieve the result we have done.
“Thanks to the new technology available to us, we were able to identify Nica quickly and effectively, allowing us to make further enquiries and ascertain his whereabouts. This led us to get justice for Nica’s victims and put a prolific offender behind bars and off the streets of Cheshire.
“This result reinforces our commitment to tackling violence against women and girls, we will prevent, deter and take action against anyone who preys on women and girls.
“I hope this result will provide reassurance to the public and perhaps will allow others to have the courage and report incidents such as this to us.”