AN ASTROPHYSICIST’S fall from grace was complete yesterday (Monday, October 10) when he admitted a string of sex offences including following young women and using a mobile phone to film under their skirts.

Dr Jeremy Allington-Smith, 59, outraged public decency by making the moving clips “almost exclusively” of unsuspecting women in short skirts over a five-year period, Durham Crown Court was told.

Police found more than 300 images, made mainly in Durham city centre, when a warrant was served at his home in the city in October last year.

Officers also found thousands of indecent images and moving clips of children on his domestic computer equipment.

The former Durham University academic, who has Parkinson’s Disease and walks with the aid of a stick, pleaded guilty to nine offences.

He admitted downloading 688 indecent still and moving images of children of the worst category, between July 2008 and October 2015, along with two similar charges relating to a further 2,453 indecent images.

Allington-Smith also admitted three charges relating to the possession of 1,818 prohibited images of children. The latter images include Japanese cartoon-type pictures and computer generated images, as well as copies of pictures found in a paedophile manual.

He also admitted possessing the manual, containing advice on how to abuse sexually children.

And he pleaded guilty to a charge of voyeurism in July 2013 when, “for the purposes of sexual gratification”, he recorded a woman doing a private act without her knowledge.

Allington-Smith further admitted outraging public decency, between September 2009 and September 2014, for a series of acts of a "lewd, obscene or disgusting nature" by taking images up women’s skirts without their knowledge.

He denied a tenth count of attempting to take indecent photographs of children in March 2011 – a charge which will be left on file.

Referring to a summary of the state’s case, Judge Christopher Prince said: “There are 360 moving image clips taken from a smart phone or small camera being held down low as the defendant walks along the street – almost exclusively of young women wearing short skirts . . . in shops or walking up the steps.”

The judge placed Allington-Smith on the sex offenders’ register with immediate effect and adjourned the case for sentencing on January 20.

The former academic was granted bail with stringent conditions on his use of the internet and he was banned from using any device capable of taking images outside of his own home.