Camera victims in trauma

TWO teenagers were left suicidal and suffer ongoing panic attacks after a family friend secretly filmed them and numerous women showering and undressing over the course of a year.

From January 2013, a Mildura man planted a camera in a digital clock radio that he would move to different rooms of his home and a houseboat, including the bathroom, to capture footage of female guests showering and changing. 

The victims included six women and two 13-year-old girls, who were friends of the offender’s daughter and would often attend sleepovers at his house.

In a County Court sitting in Mildura yesterday, one of the teenage victims read a victim impact statement, detailing how she now feared leaving her house and was undergoing frequent counselling as a result of the offence.

“Since I found out what happened, I haven’t felt comfortable getting changed and I felt I couldn’t trust anyone,” she said.

“Then came the suicidal thoughts. I felt like my privacy was gone, I had no reason to live, it destroyed me more than anyone could think.

“I can’t leave the house without getting panic attacks … all I want is for my life to get back to normal and to feel safe again.”

The court heard both young victims virtually stopped attending school and were so traumatised they now took medication.

In an impact statement, the second girl’s mother said her daughter had turned to cutting herself and had become withdrawn from school and family life.

“To be betrayed by someone I thought was my friend is hard to understand,” she said. 

“I trusted my daughter was safe and never thought something like this would happen, I should have seen the signs.”

In a statement read by prosecutor David O’Doherty, the second victim’s father said he was in disbelief. 

“As a father, I don’t know how another father could do this,” he said.

The man was arrested early this year after he lost a USB containing the footage at a carpark, where it was picked up by a member of the public and turned in to police. 

He was charged with 12 offences including nine stalking charges and two counts of making or producing child pornography.

The man is on bail after facing Mildura Magistrates’ Court in February, when he was sentenced to nine months’ jail and ordered to serve an 18-month community corrections order.

Yesterday he appealed against the sentence when he faced the County Court, with the matter adjourned to next Wednesday.

Anyone experiencing personal prob­lems can contact Lifeline on 131 114.

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