Eddie Catz Founder Faces Jail For Voyeurism Offences

Made peepholes at play centres and Putney Leisure Centre to spy on girls and women

Darren Johnson - Eddie Catz founder
Darren Johnson - Eddie Catz founder


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Darren Johnson, the Putney based founder of the Eddie Catz chain of children’s play centres, is facing jail after pleading guilty to charges of voyeurism.

The 51-year-old has admitted to five counts of the offence in addition to taking over 700 video clips of female staff and young girls secretly filmed at various branches of Eddie Catz and at Putney Leisure Centre.

A raid by police on his Putney home in June uncovered a collection of videos that he had made for sexual gratification dating back 12 years.

Johnson opened the first branch of Eddie Catz in Putney in 2005 with his wife. The chain now has nine branches including soft-play areas in Mothercare shops across the country.

On 5 June last year he filmed two 14 year old girls getting changed in a cubicle in Putney Leisure Centre while they were attending a school swimming class. They saw an iPhone being pointed at them under the door of the cubicle. Later Johnson was seen on CCTV at the leisure centre with his iPhone. Afterwards it was discovered following a police search of his home and computer that he had created peepholes in lavatories at the centre and taken images of women and girls using them. Kingston Crown Court heard that he had also created peepholes in the Earlsfield branch of Eddie Catz.

Darren Johnson after his arrest

He was arrested a week later and charged on 5 My.

Johnson resigned as a director of Eddie Catz when the allegations were made and is no longer a shareholder.

Eddie Catz in Putney. Picture: Google Streetview

He is due to be sentenced on 28 August and the judge has warned that a custodial sentence is likely. Johnson has been banned taking any kind of video or camera image and from all the Eddie Catz centres as well as any mixed use changing rooms. He is also forbidden from contacting any witness, victims or staff of Eddie Catz.

Detective Constable Nayeff Al-Wareeth, from the Met’s South West Command, said, "This conviction would not have been possible without the courage and bravery of the young girls who first came forward with the initial allegation.

"We will continue to work around the clock to ensure that criminals like Johnson are off our streets and behind bars."

We have contacted Wandsworth Council to ask if they intend to review public safety and child protection at Putney Leisure Centre but have not yet received a response.

July 27, 2018

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