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A teenager has spoken out after her stepfather was found guilty of voyeurism after she discovered he had been filming her while she was in the bath.
Traumatised 19-year-old Lauren Brightwood was horrified to discover a phone secretly filming her while she was bathing on the eve of her 18th birthday.
And she soon discovered the phone belonged to 35-year-old Thomas Craig Lewis – who had helped raise her since she was four-years-old after marrying her mother, Michelle, in 2005.
The teen had been taking a bath in November 2018 when she noticed a device hidden behind a glass panel above the bath.
Lauren texted her mother writing: "Come to the bathroom but don't tell Craig", WalesLive reports.
The two women were horrified as they pieced together that Michelle’s husband, Lauren’s step-father, was recording her in the bathroom.
After they contacted police, Lewis was eventually charged with two counts of voyeurism after incidents between 2014 and 2018 – after the women discovered he had been secretly filming Lauren since she was 13-years-old.
He pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates’ Court in September and is due to be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, October 16.
Discussing the case, Detective Constable Andrea Taylor, from Northamptonshire Police, said: "This case has taken a long time to conclude and I would like to commend the victim for her resolve and courage during this time in seeing it through to the end.
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"I hope the fact that Lewis has pleaded guilty to the offences offers her some comfort and allows her to move forward with her life. Lewis’s behaviour was very predatory – he completely violated this girl’s privacy and I am pleased that he has been convicted.
"What he did was absolutely shameful and I hope he reflects on these awful incidents for a long time to come."
Discussing the incident and the betrayal of her step-dad, Lauren told WalesOnline: "It's been a really difficult time and since it's happened my life has completely changed.
"I’m not the same person I was before it happened. I'll never fully trust people again, I struggle with being around older men, I've had to grow up so quickly.
"I never had anxiety attacks before it but now I've suffered from anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide.
"I’m a different person, I'm more guarded when I go into a home I've never been in before I look around the room and check to see if there are cameras there sometimes."
She added: "He basically raised me, I'd known him since I was four, we had any normal father-daughter relationship and I think my mum really struggles because she blames herself."
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK free on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch
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