A HIGH Court clerk from Amersham has spoken of his "deep regret" after being convicted of secretly filming up women's skirts.

Michael Hill, 59, blamed the death of his mother for taking pictures of victims with a video camera hidden inside a black holdall.

He had taken 560 separate shots after his offending began in 1996, a court heard last week.

Hill, a court "associate" who worked with some of the country's top judges for more than 40 years, admitted to four counts of outraging public decency and three counts of taking indecent images of a child between June 1, 2003, and his arrest on June 9, 2004.

The six-hour tape recovered by police included film of a teenager at a bus stop and a schoolgirl in uniform.

Hill, of First Avenue, told Midweek: "I so deeply regret all this. I am not that sort of person. I have always led a good life and I am shocked I have done this. It should never have happened."

Hill (pictured right) said the loss of his mother in 1995 had a "terrible" effect on him.

He said: "Her death was very unexpected. Nothing quite prepares you for the death of someone close to you."

Hill said videoing generally had always been a hobby and he started using it to take his mind off losing his mother.

It was then, he said, that he started taking the indecent images.

"It's a terrible thing because when I was doing this I kept saying to myself don't do it, don't do it', but there was some kind of relief. It took my mind off the grief."

Hill's voyeurism came to an end in a London toy store when he was caught trying to photograph a woman who was bending over looking at a display of cuddly toys.

Hill was spotted by the woman's partner standing close behind her with a camera lens poking out of his bag.

Hill's barrister, Terry Munyard, told Southwark Crown Court his client suffered from a rare condition called "paraphilia" brought on by his repressive mother.

"The stress first arose from the death of his mother, with whom he had an unusually close and dependant relationship," he said.

"He didn't leave home until his 40th year.

"He didn't marry any potential partner because they were never good enough for his mother.

"It wasn't until her death that he felt able to marry. This man felt great repression and overwhelming control from his mother. He virtually worshipped her and saw her in a position of absolute authority."

Judge Rodney McKinnon told Hill his behaviour was "deeply offensive" and would have been the cause of "extreme distress to the women who were filmed had they found out".

The judge added: "Before this happened, you were a man of impeccable character with an employment record of distinction.

"This perverse behaviour appears to have started after your mother died and she was a person who you worshipped and were totally devoted to."

The judge ordered Hill, who has resigned from the civil appeals section of the Royal Courts of Justice, to undergo a two-year community rehabilitation order.

He also ordered him to pay £105 court costs and register as a sex offender for five years.