Lismore Court House.
Lismore Court House. Cathy Adams

Man used hidden camera to film step-daughter in shower

A NORTHERN Rivers man who developed a reliance on child pornography to "self-soothe" his depression will spend at least two years in jail.

David Anthony Parker's crimes included the possession of more than 10,000 images of child abuse material, which included two films of his teenage step-daughter and her friend in the shower taken with a hidden camera.

In July last year the Australian Federal Police received reports of a person uploading more than 600 images of children in sexually suggestive poses and traced the IP address to Parker's Banora Point residence.

Tweed Heads police executed a search warrant of his home and seized four electronic devices including a laptop and two memory cards containing more than 10,000 images and 19 video files, featuring mostly five to 14-year-old children.

One of the films contained images of Parker's teenage step-daughter showering, while another featured her now 16-year-old friend.

Parker initially denied taking the films and claimed he had found the camera in the garden, but later confessed to his crimes.

The 44-year-old father of three had pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to access child abuse material, the possession of child abuse material, and the production of child abuse material.

Victim impact statements revealed both girls suffered from "insecurity and loss of trust" as a result of the experience.

At his sentencing in the Lismore District Court today, Judge Deborah Sweeney said she accepted Parker's statement that the films of the two girls were not uploaded online.

Judge Sweeney said Parker's interest in online pornography began in 2013 and soon shifted to child pornography at a time when he found his life circumstances "out of control" and was suffering from depression.

He had been made redundant in 2012 after 16 years in a job and became self-employed erecting signs using a cherry picker, a business that he found stressful to manage.

Judge Sweeney said he appeared to use the pornography as a way to "escape and self-soothe".

She classed Parker's offences as "neither at the highest nor lowest level" of child abuse seriousness.

She noted that there was no element of sale, distribution, or profit in Parker's acts, but said his consumption of the images contributed to the ongoing market in child pornography.

Parker had demonstrated remorse and a commitment to rehabilitation, and was deemed at low risk of reoffending.

He had realised the impact of his actions and expressed "disgust" at the act of filming his step-daughter and her friend.

But given the seriousness of the crimes, Judge Sweeney said "no sentence other than full-time custody would be appropriate".

She sentenced Parker to a total of two and a half years in prison, with a two year non-parole period.

Parker displayed little emotion and appeared to accept his sentence as it was read out.

He will be eligible for parole on November 10, 2018.

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