A stepfather was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Tuesday for secretly filming his stepdaughter while in the bath for a duration of three years. Thomas Craig Lewis, 35, and his covert recordings only came to light after his stepdaughter spotted his phone above the bathroom door on the eve of her 18th birthday.
Lauren Brightwood said she had always looked up to Lewis as a father since he came to be part of her life at the young age of four. But in the past three years, Lewis had begun to secretly record the young girl when she turned 14.
Brightwood spotted Lewis' camera at the bathroom window in 2018 and immediately texted her mother from the bathroom to avoid alerting Lewis. Her mother then confronted Lewis but he came up with ridiculous excuses but eventually admitted he got curious about how she looked as an adult. He said he had made recordings "a couple of times" in the house and in the family's previous home in Wales.
Police were called into the home and an investigation took place. Lewis later on turned himself over to the police station and confessed his actions. He said he had made about five to 10 video recordings of the teenager between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.
In an article on Wales Online, the Northampton Crown Court also ordered a work suspension for 18 months on Lewis while undertaking 30 days of required rehabilitation in order to complete his 100 hours of unpaid work.
According to defending lawyer David Singh, his client had no previous convictions, and sought professional help for his actions after pleading guilty to two counts of voyeurism. However, Judge Rebecca Crane said it was clear the defendant had not accepted the reasons behind his actions.
The court also heard how the teenager described the toll of the recordings on her mother. The family has since suffered financially after Lewis lost his job and was forced to leave their home.
Brightwood, who waived her right to anonymity said she now suffers from anxiety and depression. She is also suspected to be suffering from an eating disorder as a result of the events
Brightwood said, "The sentence wasn't what I wanted but we have to go with it."