A man police caught stalking two central Victorian women had only months earlier finished serving a 12-year prison sentence for a series of other crimes - including stalking.
Jason Mark Carroll, 47, pleaded guilty in the County Court on Friday to two charges of stalking and one charge of burglary.
The offences were detected after a Victoria Police proactive targeting team began investigating Carroll last November, using covert cameras.
On multiple occasions in December 2019 and January 2020, Carroll was observed peering into a woman's bedroom window.
On one occasion, the victim had to rush her pet to the vet, and in her hurry, left the door unlocked.
Half an hour later, Carroll was seen looking into the window before entering her home, wearing only shorts.
A camera in the woman's bedroom captured Carroll masturbating in her bedroom, picking up a pair of her underwear, and going through her belongings.
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He then left the woman's home carrying some items, believed to be the woman's underwear and other belongings.
In January, Carroll was caught watching another woman.
The police investigation revealed Carroll visited the block of units in which she lived six times.
On two occasions, Carroll was seen to look through the woman's window and masturbate.
Carroll was arrested later that month.
One of the women read a victim impact statement to the court, in which she described how Carroll's offending left her fearful.
"The home, the place I had lived safely and comfortably for seven years, felt like a prison," she said.
The woman detailed how the offending had affected her work, and how she worried that Carroll would find her, even if she moved.
The court heard Carroll was released from prison in August 2019, after serving the full 12 years of a previous sentence.
In instructions to his defence counsel Julien Lowy, Carroll said he was deemed eligible to complete a sex offender program in May 2015, but he was not given the opportunity to do it.
In February 2019, he said, it was decided he would complete his sentence, partly due to the fact he had not done the program.
Carroll said he spent one week with his support after his release, before moving on his own into a unit.
He said he was "thoroughly disappointed" he had relapsed into offending.
Crown prosecutor David Cordy said the prosecution did not accept Carroll's allegations, but would approach Corrections Victoria to find out what happened regarding the sex offender program and parole.
Mr Lowy said Carroll was "clearly institutionalised" and had been released straight into the community after 12 years in prison.
"The situation we have is Mr Carroll was released with surveillance, rather than support and supervision," Mr Lowy said.
While Carroll's previous offending including stalking and burglary, Judge Michael McInerney said that was "far more heinous" behaviour than his most recent crimes.
Judge McInerney ordered Carroll be assessed for a community corrections order and adjourned sentencing to a later date.