A mother was “chilled to the core” to discover her husband was a paedophile who had been sharing photos of their seven-year-old daughter online.
The 41-year-old woman, referred to as Paula Michaels*, was forced to reassess her entire relationship when she received a phone call from police informing her her husband had been downloading indecent pictures of children, in February 2015.
“At first I couldn’t take in what they were saying, I felt my blood run cold and my hands went clammy,” she told the Daily Mail. Her main concern was her daughter, Olivia*.
“The sick thought that he might have harmed her chilled me to the core,” she said.
“Mercifully, she’d given no indication that Craig had ever behaved inappropriately around her. She was safe. Still, my husband had been looking at those disgusting pictures in our home.”
While police found no evidence Olivia had ever been molested, they had traced Craig because he had been sharing photos of his daughter in her school uniform with paedophiles online.
“The police were still insistent that there was no evidence that he’d molested Olivia. But the thought of him using her pictures to tantalise other paedophiles turned my stomach. How could he exploit our daughter in that way?” Paula asked.
“On my darkest days I even wondered whether Craig had only started a family with me so that he had access to kids to abuse.”
More disturbingly, police later recovered photos deleted from Craig’s phone of Olivia in the bath which showed her genitals, but not her face.
Thankfully they weren’t posted online. Investigators identified Olivia because they recognised the family’s bathroom.
In November last year, Craig was sentenced to 13 months in prison for taking indecent images and for downloading others.
At first, Paula lied to her daughter about what had happened to her father, but eventually was forced to explain.
“Olivia still doesn’t understand though. Now I’ve told her that her daddy is in jail for taking ‘naughty photographs’ but I don’t think she’d old enough to hear the full extent of his crimes,” she said.
“I know one day she’ll be able to look up his name online and find out all about him, so I need to find the right time to tell her. But when are you ever ready to hear that about your dad?”
The couple is now divorced and Paula and Olivia have moved house.
She said she is legally exploring options to terminate his parental rights.
“He lost the right to be her daddy when he took those pictures — and her innocence,” she said.
(*not her real name)