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Shampoo peeping Airbnb host peers through prison bars

November 1, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A former prison officer and Airbnb host who filmed women in the shower at his homestay and uploaded the videos to a porn site now faces rather different views during several years in prison.

Airbnb has permanently banned New Zealand host Tony Greathead, 36, who on Tuesday was sent to prison for four years and four months.

Greathead was sentenced in a District Court in the beachside tourist city of Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay district of New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper reported yesterday.

Greathead filmed 34 women as they showered in his Hastings homestay over the most recent summer holiday season, between December 2017 and his arrest in February this year.

While presenting himself as a decent family man, Greathead would sneak small cameras disguised in shampoo bottles into showers used by his guests. He would place these in locations designed to record guests’ bodies between their shoulders and knees, the court heard. The victims’ faces were often visible when they bent down and most of his guests were female and aged under 30.

Greathead would put the shampoo bottles away after his guests had bathed or showered and then stay up late at night downloading the videos onto his computer hard drive, the court heard. He then uploaded the results to a pornographic website on which he had created a profile. The results were shared worldwide.

In August Greathead pleaded guilty to 51 charges of making an intimate visual recording, seven charges of knowingly making an objectionable publication, seven charges of knowingly distributing an objectionable publication and four charges of publishing an intimate visual recording.

The paper reported that before coming to New Zealand with his family Greathead, a New Zealander, had been a police officer in England.

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said Greathead conducted the filming for sexual gratification and the victims were horrified on learning what had taken place.

Greathead had also caused harm to the homestay and Airbnb industry in Hawke’s Bay, Manning said, and had led some tourists to question what sort of place New Zealand was.

There is no suggestion Airbnb knew anything of the host’s bizarre bathroom activities – it banned Greathead as soon as it learned of them.

Even so, the case is likely to provide ammunition for those who point out that “sharing economy” homestays can present risks not usually associated with hotels.

The case adds another dimension to the consumer safety issues sometimes raised in connection with homestays.

These issues have included, in recent months, the tragic death of a young boy hit by a swing at an Airbnb property in Queensland and the death of a teenager after being stabbed at an Airbnb apartment in the Melbourne CBD in late July.

Written by Peter Needham in Paraparaumu, New Zealand

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