'Calculating' Churchdown man jailed for sexual assaults and secretly filming women

Alex Russ, 34, set up a camera phone in a washbag and leave it in a bathroom, where he was able to film a woman before and after she showered.  Credit: Gloucestershire Police

A 'calculating' man from Churchdown who sexually assaulted a woman while she was trying to sleep has been jailed.

Alex Russ, aged 34 and of Craven Drive, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman and secretly filming two others.

He had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault against one woman and two counts of voyeurism against two further women.

Russ was sentenced to six years and five months in prison when he appeared at Gloucester Crown Court.

In 2015, while staying at the home of a woman, she had started to go to sleep when Russ pulled her pyjama bottoms down and sexually assaulted her. She was able to stop him and challenge his behaviour.

On another two occasions, Russ got into bed with her while she again tried to sleep and he sexually assaulted her.

The court heard that the day before the first incident, Russ had used his tablet device to search for sleep disorders involving sexual behaviour.

Russ also admitted to secretly filming women without their knowledge or consent.

One incident saw him set up a camera phone in a washbag and leave it in a bathroom, where he was able to film a woman before and after she showered. 

Another time involved a camera hidden in an alarm clock which he set up in a room being used by a different woman.

Although he initially denied the offences, Russ pleaded guilty on the first day of trial in October 2023.

As well as being jailed, Russ has been put on the Sex Offenders Register for life, and restraining orders have been put in place to protect the women.

The officer who led the investigation from Gloucestershire Constabulary said: "I believe the fact that he searched for sleep disorders shows that Russ's actions were premeditated.

"He is a calculating individual.

"We would like to commend all three victims who came forward to speak to officers and support police action. 

"Two of the victims felt that, at the time of initial reporting, they did not want to proceed with the investigation. This is the choice of any victim of any crime, and their decisions were respected at the time.

"They came back to police at a later stage, when they felt able to support the case.

"It cannot be underestimated the strength that each of these victims has shown in providing the evidence to take this forward."