AN OPTICIAN whose conduct has been described as ‘the most deplorable and abhorrent breach of trust’ has been banned for life after he was jailed for filming women under desks and in toilets at his town centre office.
Martin Clough was jailed in September, 2016 for 28 months after pleading guilty to six counts of voyeurism at Bolton Crown Court.
Clough owned Cloughs Opticians in Newport Street, where the offences were committed.
The court heard how he had hidden secret cameras in toilets and under desks at the practice and when police searched his home in Horrocks Fold Avenue, Sharples, they found 24,396 images and 27 moving images on a computer.
He was found after one of his victims spotted the camera hidden inside an air freshener.
Clough was suspended from practising for 18 months following his arrest last year but the General Optical Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee has now made a ruling to have him ‘erased’ from the register.
The committee found that Clough’s conduct ‘amounted to the most deplorable and abhorrent breach of trust and violation of privacy and was so egregious that it is not capable of remedy’.
The committee also stated that if he was allowed to resume practice he would ‘pose a real risk of repeating his conduct’ and that his passed behaviour has ‘caused his victims serious psychological harm’.
The committee found that Clough had not ‘demonstrated sufficient insight or remediation’ but did take his guilty plea at court and his desire to seek help and his written comments to them in to account.
The committee ordered that Clough was erased from the register and an immediate order for erasure was made to ‘protect members of the public and is otherwise in the public interest to mark the very serious nature of the registrant’s conduct’.
Under the General Optical Council’s guidelines, an erasure means that Clough cannot practise as an optometrist.
The offences took place between December, 2013 and November, 2014.
Clough owned the business with his brothers Christopher and Stuart and had taken it over when their father Norman retired in the mid-1990s.
Clough had 28 days from when the committee’s decision was made on Friday to appeal the decision and if no appeal is lodged the erasure order will take effect at the end of that period.
Following his conviction last year, Clough was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and must notify police of his whereabouts for the next 10 years following his court appearance last year.