A pervert who admitted secretly recording his teenage step-daughter in the shower has been jailed for nine months.
As well as the jail term, the 42-year-old was ordered by Belfast Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC to sign the police sex offenders register for the next ten years for what he described as a “serious breach of trust”.
He had earlier heard how the offences came to light on New Year’s Day last year when the man’s 14-year-old step-daughter uncovered a camera secreted inside a soap bag on the toilet cistern pointing at her.
Prosecuting lawyer Rosemary Walsh said at the time, the teenager was alone in the house with her step father as her mum was at a friend’s and “did not know what to do”.
Such was her state of panic that taking the camera with her, she ran for more than a mile in bare feet to where her mother was said the lawyer, adding that the girl could not walk properly for days.
When the mother and daughter went back to their home, the defendant had fled but had taken his laptop with him.
The 42-year-old, who cannot be identified to protect his victims, was arrested at his mother’s house later that day.
Ms Walsh said when the camera, laptop and a home computer were examined, officers uncovered four videos totalling 69 minutes of footage of the girl in the shower.
In addition, cops also found two videos the pervert had made of him and his wife having sex but that they had been made “without her knowledge or consent”.
As well as the secretly recorded videos the court heard, there were a total of 125 photographs and 23 movie files of children being abused with Ms Walsh describing that while the large majority were classified as category one images, there were a total of ten in the more serious categories of three and four.
Arrested and interviewed, the pervert admitted that he had been secretly recording his step-daughter since the summer of 2011 but denied downloading images of child abuse.
He later however pleaded guilty to six charges of recording another person’s private acts for sexual purposes and seven counts relating to indecent images of children on dates between May 2011 and January 2012.
Defence lawyer Michael Campbell said while the offences were inexcusable, it may be of “cold comfort” for the victims to know that no-one else had ever seen the footage.
He added that his client had already paid a heavy price by losing his wife and family and was ashamed of his behaviour.
Sending him to jail, Judge Kerr told the pervert his actions had left his victims suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, had “shaken their sense of trust and belief in other people and the world” and that for his teenage victim, “normal social development has been hampered”.
The judge also put in place a seven-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barring him from contacting his victims, denying police access to his electronic devices and living in a property where there are children without prior approval.
He also barred him from working with children.
As he was lead to the cells in handcuffs, a man shouted out, “on behalf of my daughter thank-you judge”.