Pervert who filmed men using public toilets caught because of his Snapchat

Axel Savage
-Credit: (Image: Facebook)

A pervert filmed men urinating and performing sex acts in public toilets and sent child abuse images to his partner on WhatsApp.

Axel Savage's vile stash of indecent images was discovered due to his activities on Snapchat. The chemist was yesterday told that he had "perpetuated a market" of children being sexually abused.

Liverpool Crown Court heard on Wednesday that police received information that the 30-year-old's Snapchat account had been used to upload an indecent image in category A - those showing the most serious forms of abuse - on September 3 2022. A search warrant was then executed at Savage's home address on February 10 2023, with officers seizing his mobile phone.

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Ken Grant, prosecuting, described how the defendant made no comment to detectives under interview but did provide his pin number. Two category A images and three photographs and four videos in category B were then discovered on the device.

Savage - of Fordington Road in Hood Manor, Warrington - had meanwhile sent single category A images to his partner via WhatsApp on both January 26 2022 and June 3 2022, as well as two category B images on the latter date and one more on May 2 2022. Officers also discovered 282 images which had been taken in a public bathroom on January 31 and February 2 last year - 233 of which showed men urinating, 35 which had been taken under the doors and walls of stalls and a further 15 of males performing sex acts.

Jim Smith, defending, told the court: "What he has done, he is ashamed of. He has suffered a great deal for his wrongdoing already.

"He has not previously troubled the courts. Character references speak eloquently about the defendant, someone who is kind, friendly, hard working and supportive to his family - particularly his mother, who has suffered a great deal recently, and to his grandfather.

"He has worked for the last 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He has done nothing but prove his value to the community.

"He has tried hard to rehabilitate himself. The public would be best served in this case by rehabilitation rather than depriving the defendant of his job and the assistance he provides to others."

Of the images taken in the public toilet, Mr Smith added: "The recordings were taken on two discrete dates where there was substantial consensual activity going on and an awareness of what was happening. However, there may have been some that were non-consensual in collecting that information.

"He accepts that it was criminal behaviour. There were blurred lines in respect of what was experimentation, trespassing into an area that regrettably was unlawful behaviour."

Savage - who has no previous convictions - admitted voyeurism, possession of indecent images of children, four counts of distribution of indecent images, two counts of making indecent images. Appearing suited in the dock, he was handed a 20-month imprisonment suspended for two years.

Sentencing, Judge David Swinnerton said: "By the standards of what the court sees, this is a relatively small number of images. But, nonetheless, those who view such images do not stop to think about what they represent.

"Each of those images represents a child being abused. Somewhere in the world, there is a real child behind each and every one of those photographs.

"People like you who look at indecent images perpetuate the market in it. People are encouraged to create such imagery and abuse a real child in the real world.

"That is why they are taken seriously. It is not just a picture.

"Things are made worse for you because you distributed category A and B images. Your distribution is at the very bottom of the scale.

"The four times that you sent an image, it was to your own partner. He acknowledges his own wrongdoing in relation to that."

The judge added of the voyeurism charge: "They are public toilets and anyone can go in and use those facilities. Ordinary members of the public are entitled to do that without being photographed, regardless of what other people are up to in there.

"Ordinarily, I do not suspend the sentences of those that distribute this sort of material. Your case is unusual in terms of the small number of images and the closed nature of the distribution, and I am prepared to say that there are reasonable prospects of rehabilitation."

Savage, who replied "thank you", was also told to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days and a programme requirement as well as being subjected to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and a notification requirement lasting the same period. He was seen hugging his partner outside the courtroom after being spared an immediate jail term.

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