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A creepy stalker has been caught on camera trying to remove secret listening devices he planted in his neighbour's house, including one on her bed.
William Nolan and his wife were trusted with a key to neighbour Leigh Jones' home in Erdington, Birmingham, so they could feed her two cats while she was away.
But 64-year-old Mrs Jones was horrified when she found a voice recorder taped under her coffee table – and then another behind the headboard in her bedroom.
The widow then set up covert webcams to catch the rogue who came to collect the recording kit and even carefully hoovered her carpet in one direction to capture the snooper's footprints.
When grandma-of-one Leigh watched back the footage she caught Nolan, 59, in her home, retrieving the spyware recorders, and called the police.
The married former security guard admitted stalking without fear/alarm/distress and was jailed for 15 weeks at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on May 25.
The judge described the case as one of the most serious 'stalking' offences he had ever seen.
Brave Mrs Jones, who is speaking out to raise awareness of the seriousness of stalking, said: "I felt totally violated – Bill's trade is CCTV and security and things like that so that was also worrying.
"I wasn't scared of Bill as a person because I've never had cause to be scared. My only worry was there anything else planted.
"To this day I still don't know whether there is.
"I just felt uncomfortable putting my underwear out in the garden, just the thought of him watching.
"For me, for somebody to put a recording device on your headboard there's only one reason why they want to do that and that's a sexual reason – something only a perv would do.
"I want to make people aware that you can't trust anyone – after being neighbours for 30 years, being widowed, and then him doing this to me."
He had a key to his neighbour's home
The retired practice manager lived next door to father-of-four and grandfather-of-two Nolan, in Erdington, Birmingham, for about 30 years.
She said they were "normal, friendly neighbours", would chat regularly and trusted each other.
Nolan had a spare key to Leigh's house, so his family could feed her cats Bellamy and Sami when she visited her partner in Nottingham, every week.
"We'd talk on a weekly basis – just neighbour things like how are we, how's life, how are things in general," she added.
"I felt I could trust him with the keys to my house when I was out to feed my cats."
She was having dinner at her home with her partner, 64, when he found a black plastic box under the table, held by double sided tape, on November 7.
She initially thought it might be one of her grandson's toys, but soon realised it was spyware, following an internet search.
It had a microphone and an on/off switch, with a port where a USB cable could be connected, in order to access the recorded audio data.
He was caught on camera
She said: "I was so upset and so panicky but my main concern was were they live listening devices, but we found they were recorders.
"Then we thought how's it got there, who's put it there, and the next thing we thought was are there any more?
"We took the pictures off the wall, turned the settee upside down and looked in every foreseeable place in the living room."
They went upstairs to the bedroom and, sure enough, they found one stuck behind the headboard on the bed.
She said: "We slept very little and thought whoever planted them needs to come back to get them so you can play back back via the laptop.
"We thought we need to catch them."
The next day they reported the discovery to West Midlands Police, but were told with no sign of forced entry, she would need further evidence.
She then raced to the shop to buy some cameras to try and catch the stalker.
She told Nolan's wife that she would be out on Thursday afternoon until Friday morning, and left home.
And just half an hour later, her male neighbour was recorded frantically searching for his missing devices, as can be seen in the clip.
Speaking of his return, Mrs Jones said: "The first thing I did was go upstairs and there were large footprints on the landing and by the bed so I knew somebody had come looking for the second device."
The mum-of-one rewound the footage to around 3pm on Thursday – when Nolan's wife left to get their grandchildren from school – and caught him on camera.
She said: "At 3:23pm I heard the front door open and caught him on camera.
"He went straight to the coffee table and I thought 'I've got him'."
Help is available for stalking victims
If you are in immediate danger call 999
Suzy Lamplugh Trust The National Stalking Helpline gives practical information, support, and advice to victims of stalking. It is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4pm on 0808 802 0300. You can use the Am I being stalked tool? here
Protection Against Stalking and The Cyber Helpline unite to provide victims of cyberstalking with personal advice about how to stay safe online. If you believe you are being stalked, but not in immediate danger, contact [email protected]
Action Against Stalking is based in Scotland and is the area's only charity dedicated exclusively to the victims of stalking. Call their helpline on 0800 820 2427 or email s[email protected]
Footage shows him panicked, rummaging through the kitchen drawer and then going out of shot briefly – to look for the device that was on her headboard.
She called her son, 32, to go and confront the Nolans.
She said: "I went next door spoke to them about it and he went 'I don't know what you're talking about'.
"His wife said maybe he was looking for the cats, and I said 'what, under the coffee table?'"
She called the police and submitted her evidence, and they arrested William Nolan on December 18m 2020. She said he initially maintained he was looking for the cats in the video footage.
But he pleaded guilty to the charge and was jailed last month.
Judge David Wain described the case as one of the most serious 'stalking' offences he had ever seen, but blasted the CPS for its choice of charge, saying the decision severely constrained his sentencing powers.
It meant the maximum sentence he could impose was 26 weeks, but he reduced it to 15 weeks due to Nolan's guilty plea and personal mitigation.
The convicted stalker was ordered to pay £300 compensation and was banned from contacting his victim under an indefinite restraining order.
According to the Birmingham Mail, the judge said: "Putting one on the coffee table was bad enough but putting one on her headboard understandably caused her the most amount of distress imaginable.
"The safety she felt in her own home was destroyed.
"On discovery of the devices she said she was hysterical that someone wanted to listen to her personal conversations.
"She felt sick to the stomach about the one on the headboard. That's perfectly understandable."
In mitigation, Pallo Bailey, said his client's wife remained "supportive" but added his behaviour had put a 'strain' on their marriage.
Of Nolan's reduced sentence, Mrs Jones added: "I was disappointed but very happy that he's been sent down for such a sick act.
"Family and friends say it's like something out of a crime book. Even the judge said he's never dealt with such a serious case of stalking.
"I was widowed about two years ago and I've now got a new partner so I don't know if that had anything to do with what he was doing."