Teen’s horrifying discovery about stepdad
Two years ago Welsh teen Lauren Brightwood had been a happy girl with a supportive family - which included her stepfather Thomas 'Craig' Lewis.
But on November 27, 2018 as Lauren enjoyed a bath and "pamper night" ahead of her 18th birthday celebrations the next day, she noticed something strange behind the glass window above her bathroom door.
It was Lewis' phone, the man who had been a father figure to her since she was four years old.
Last month Lewis pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism after incidents between 2014 and 2018. He admitted to filming Lauren on a number of occasions from when she was just 13, Wales Online reports.
Lewis had initially denied filming Lauren after she and her mother Michelle confronted him, telling them he had been checking on the teen as he thought she was crying and that it had been the vacuum cleaner, not his phone that she had spotted.
But he eventually caved and admitted he had been spying on her and they reported him to police.
Since the incident Lauren says her life has "completely changed" and she will "never fully trust people again".
"I never had anxiety attacks before it but now I've suffered with 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's cameras there sometimes," she told Wales Online.
Lauren said Lewis had "basically raised me" and they had "any normal father-daughter relationship" and her mother now struggled with guilt for marrying him.
"I was traumatised. I can't look back at our family photos together, I can't think about our holidays because I see everything differently but I completely trusted him, it's what you do in a relationship - I used to let him bath her," Michelle said.
Making matters worse, Michelle and Lauren have had all contact with Lewis' family cut off and struggled financially.
But Lauren says that while it has been a struggle she hopes speaking about her experience can help others and has started an Instagram page and YouTube channel.
"It's been hard but I've never regretted telling my mum or the police," she said.
"Talking about it, writing about it and hearing other people going through things has really helped me and I would really encourage other people to come forward as well."
Northhamptonshire Police Detective DC Andrea Taylor said in a statement Lewis' actions had been "very predatory" and praised Lauren for her bravery.
"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," she said.
"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' 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."
Lewis will be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Friday.
Originally published as Teen's horrifying discovery about stepdad