NSW man jailed for 'predatory' upskirting

Sarah McPhee

A man caught holding his phone between the legs of a woman on an escalator at Sydney's Central railway station last year will spend at least a year behind bars.

Karl Edwin Skow, 59, last month pleaded guilty to three counts of intentionally recording intimate images without consent. He also asked at the time that a magistrate take into account in sentencing 33 further upskirting offences involving unidentified women.

In Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, magistrate Jacqueline Milledge sentenced Skow to 18 months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 months, saying she considered his actions "so grave in terms of predatory behaviour on young women".

"There are 36 victims that we know of," Ms Milledge said.

"This is humiliating for you but imagine how that young woman felt knowing that she was being preyed upon by someone like you."

Skow was arrested at Sutherland railway station in November 2017 after a confrontation with a woman at Central station the previous month.

According to a statement of facts tendered in court, the woman had been on an escalator when she felt the presence of someone very close behind her and a mobile phone touching her inner upper thigh.

She looked down and saw a phone held by Skow between her legs and below her skirt with the screen facing upwards.

The woman slapped Skow's arm a number of times and repeatedly asked if he'd filmed her, to which he replied "of course not" before continuing to walk away.

Police seized a mobile phone upon his arrest and found a number of images depicting the "buttock area" of people wearing short skirts, along with a laptop that revealed more than 30 additional victims.

Skow, from Barden Ridge, in the city's south, had worked as a staffing office manager at the University of Notre Dame but resigned with immediate effect in April.

Defence lawyer Michael Hempsall said there was "very little planning" behind the offences as they occurred when Skow was on his way to work and during a "period of unusual high stress" in his life.

He argued Skow had since taken steps to address his problems with alcohol, depression and anxiety through treatment, and it would be "manifestly excessive" to jail him.

But Ms Milledge said it was not all about Skow's prospects of rehabilitation, and people should be proportionately punished for what they've done.

"You knew your failings and you did nothing about them," she said.

"You've also had this issue with sexual fantasies for some time as well.

"The community can't wait for people to make awful choices that affect other innocent people that are simply going about their life."