Two years ago, Welsh teenager Lauren Brightwood had been a happy girl with a supportive family – including her stepfather Thomas ‘Craig’ Lewis.
It was Lewis’ phone, the man who had been a father figure to her since she was four.
Last month, Lewis pleaded guilty to two cases of voyeurism following incidents between 2014 and 2018. He admitted filming Lauren several times from the age of 13. Wales Online Reports.
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Lewis initially declined to film Lauren after she and her mom Michelle confronted him, telling them that he was looking for the teenager when he thought she was crying and that it was the vacuum cleaner, not his phone that she had discovered.
But he eventually gave in and admitted that he was spying on them and they reported him to the police.
Since the incident, Lauren says her life has “completely changed” and that she will “never fully trust people again.”
“I’ve never had anxiety before, but now I’ve suffered from anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. I am a different person. I’m more careful going into a house I’ve never been before looking around the room to see if there are cameras sometimes, ”she said Wales Online.
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Lauren said Lewis “basically raised me” and they had “any normal father-daughter relationship,” and her mother now struggles with guilt for marrying him.
“I was traumatized. I can’t look back on our family photos together, I can’t think about our vacation because I see everything differently, but I trusted him completely, it’s what you do in a relationship – I always let him bathe you “, said Michelle.
Michelle and Lauren had lost all contact with Lewis’ family and had financial problems.
But Lauren says that even though it’s been a struggle, she hopes to share her experience with others, and has launched an Instagram page and YouTube channel.
“It was hard, but I’ve never regretted telling my mother or the police,” she said.
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“Talking about it, writing about it, and hearing how other people are going through things has really helped me, and I would really encourage other people to get in touch too.”
Andrea Taylor, a Northhamptonshire police officer, said in a statement that Lewis’ actions were “very predatory” and praised Lauren for her bravery.
“It took a long time to close this case, and I would like to commend the victim for their determination and courage during this time to see it through to the end,” she said.
“I hope that the fact that Lewis is guilty of the crime offers her some comfort and allows her to get on with her life.
“Lewis’ behavior was very predatory – he completely violated this girl’s privacy and I’m glad he was convicted. What he did was utterly shameful and I hope he will think about these terrible incidents for a long time. ”
Lewis will be sentenced on Friday at Northampton Crown Court.
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