Somerset vicar Richard Lee admits voyeurism charges

Richard Lee
Image caption The Reverend Richard Lee was the vicar at a church in Locking

A Church of England vicar from Somerset is facing jail after admitting spying on and filming intimate pictures of three children and a woman.

The Reverend Richard Lee, 49, pleaded guilty to 26 charges of voyeurism and making indecent images.

Lee, who only spoke to confirm his name, age, address and guilty pleas at North Somerset Magistrates' Court, was granted conditional bail.

The offences took place between January 2000 and July 2012.

'Sexual gratification'

He was charged with eight voyeurism offences and 18 offences of making indecent images. He will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on 4 March.

Andrea Edwards prosecuting said: "During the course of the (police) interview he admitted that the images and film were for his own sexual gratification.

"He viewed them himself and said he did not share any of the images or video. He knew that they were wrong, but used them for his sexual gratification."

Mrs Edwards added the children shown in the images were under the age of 16.

Lee moved from Gillingham, Kent, five years ago to work at two churches near Weston-super-Mare.

He led the congregations at St Augustine's Church in Locking and St Mary's Church in Hutton.

Found on laptop

The Diocese of Bath and Wells confirmed that in accordance with the Clergy Discipline Measure, the Bishop of Bath and Wells The Right Reverend Peter Price suspended Lee from active ministry as soon as he was arrested.

A spokesman added: "The Reverend Richard Lee pleaded guilty to all counts. We have nothing further to add whilst legal proceedings continue."

The court heard Lee installed secret cameras to spy on his victims but was found out when the pictures were spotted on his laptop.

Following police searches of the vicarage and churches, officers seized a number of items and found 400 category one images - the least serious - and 84 movies of the same category.

Examination of computers seized also revealed 51 category two images, three category three and four images and one category four movie.

He has since moved to Bodmin, Cornwall.

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