A former soldier was jailed today (Thursday) for three years for indecently assaulting his step daughter and her cousin and having over 4,000 indecent images and videos of children.
Belfast Crown Court heard that the 50-year-old bored ‘peep holes’ in the Co Antrim house he shared with his partner to spy on his stepdaughter as she undressed.
The defendant pleaded guilty to a total of 38 offences including 25 counts of possessing indecent photographs of children, having five extreme pornographic images and three counts of indecently assaulting two female girls in Co Antrim and Co Tyrone.
Sentencing the accused to six years, with half to be spent in custody and half on licence Judge Corinne Philpott QC told him: “You did this while you were in a position of trust and while you were in a relationship with your stepdaughter’s mother.’’
A prosecution barrister told the court that police carried out a planned search of the defendant’s Newtownabbey home in August 2012 and seized “a large amount of material, including computers, memory sticks and hard drives etc.’’
“Such was the large volume of material seized that only ten per cent was forensically examined.’’
Of over 4,000 images examined, 97 images were classified in the most serious category and 1,326 in the second most serious category, the court heard.
One of the images discovered was that of his stepdaughter’s cousin.
The Deputy Belfast Recorder was told that police later visited his wife and step daughter and were informed about the seized images and video. One VHS taped recorded his stepdaughter going to the toilet as a child.
The prosecution lawyer said that the stepdaughter told police that she remembers as a child in 1988 that the accused had touched her head with his genitals.
“She said that she had had the feeling that she was being watched. In fact, the defendant had bored peep holes in her bedroom and the bathroom and had watched her getting undressed and going to the toilet.
“She was so conscious of this that she would dress in the wardrobe and go to the toilet in the back garden.’’
The barrister added that there were a number of aggravating features in the case including indecently assaulting the young girls “during a sustained campaign spanning 14 years from 1987 to 2001’’, his breach of trust and spying on his stepdaughter.
“Victim impact reports state that both girls have suffered as a result of these assaults and continue to suffer the effects.’’
A defence barrister said the former British Army and Territorial Army soldier was now remorseful for his actions and for what he put his two victims through.
“He has taken responsibility for his actions. He pleaded guilty and he didn’t want to put the complainants through anymore as he had already put them through quite enough.
“He was a victim of abuse himself as a child. And as is so often in these cases the victim becomes the perpetrator,’’ he added.
Passing the six year sentence; Judge Corinne Philpott QC told the defendant: “This is a serious case and you have pleaded guilty to a range of sexual offences of a rather unpleasant nature.
“You are before me for indecently assaulting your step daughter and her cousin while you were in a position of trust. The result of your actions has clearly affected both girls.”
The judge ordered the destruction of all images, videos and computer equipment and ordered the defendant to be the subject of a Sexual Offenders Prevention Order for six years.