Leytonstone tube station
A PhD-qualified researcher, Richard Anthony George, lurked on London's Underground taking pictures up the skirts of passengers until he was confronted by two women at Leytonstone Underground StationREUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

A PhD-qualified researcher lurked on London's Underground taking pictures up the skirts of passengers with his mobile until he was confronted by two women.

Richard Anthony George, 49, was a regular on four Tube lines where he secretly took snaps of women sitting opposite him.

Sometimes the academic from Buckhurst Hill, in Essex, would instead stand over them and take pictures of the breasts of women in low-cut tops.

Police found the indecent photographs when they examined his phone.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of outraging public decency, by taking a picture up a woman's skirt at Leytonstone Underground Station on 25 August 2016, and taking multiple pictures in the same month.

In mitigation his lawyer told Highbury Corner Magistrates Court yesterday (11 September) that George had learnt his lesson and now "takes a book whenever he travels".

Prosecutor Olivia Bull told the court: "These offences took place in August, last year. On 25 August a woman was travelling on a westbound Central Line Underground train. Mr George was taking photos up her skirt, using his mobile phone."

A second woman saw him and they both challenged George at Leytonstone, where he fled from the train.

When police traced his movements using CCTV they identified George by his Oyster card when he tapped in and out as it was registered to his home address.

When questioned by British Transport Police, George claimed not to have taken any photos and said he got off the train because he felt "embarrassed" by the two women.

Upskirt images

But when police examined his phone his lies were exposed as the upskirt images were revealed. George continued to try to deceive police, claiming the images were taken of girlfriends he dated who had given their permission.

Highbury Corner
Highbury Corner Magistrates Court heard that George had learnt his lesson and now “takes a book whenever he travels”Google Maps

But when officers questioned one of George's supposed girlfriends she said the pictures were not of her and that he was not her boyfriend. The court heard the woman had met him on 26 August, but the upskirt image was dated 12 August.

Police identified pictures as having been taken on the Central, Metropolitan, District and Circle lines.

Bull said: "He did specifically target women. He's aimed for up their skirts between their legs. My job as a prosecutor is to protect members of the public from serious sexual harm. The police have made these applications because they have concerns."

George's lawyer, Emma Stuart-Smith, told the court: "The last photo was on 5 October and most were deleted soon afterwards. He stopped that behaviour on his own accord.

"He is a professional man. He took his own course and realised what he was doing was wrong and now he takes a book whenever he travels.

"He is receiving therapy. He is extremely humiliated and remorseful for the position he finds himself in and his behaviour. The court should not be concerned that he is going to commit any more offences."

George was granted bail and made to surrender any digital device capable of taking pictures to the police. He must also have a valid fare on all trains. The academic returns to court for sentencing on 20 September.