Caroline Walsh had no idea her partner of eight years Martyn Darlington was a pervert until she discovered of sick images on his computer
Mum-of-one Caroline Walsh thought it couldn’t get any worse when she found disgusting child porn images on her boyfriend’s computer – but her nightmare was just beginning.
When the trusting 49-year-old uncovered the sick pictures, she immediately reported Martyn Darlington, 39, to the police.
Officers seized the pervert’s computer, hard drive, and dozens of memory cards where they made an even more shocking discovery – Caroline’s partner of eight years had been filming her teenage daughter in her bedroom and the bathroom.
Caroline told the Sunday People : “Martyn had set up a secret camera in the bathroom. He had put it under the sink and for years had been watching my little girl on the toilet.
“From the videos the police could tell he had been spying on her from the age of 15. He’s spent hours watching her washing, going to the loo and undressing. I was absolutely mortified and couldn’t believe I had welcomed this sicko into my home.”
Housekeeper Caroline first met Darlington in 2000 through mutual friends and although the pair were close, they only got together five years later.
“Martyn was charming, good-looking and a really lovely man,” Caroline recalls. “He was really well-respected in his job as a rail engineer and we had all the same friends.
“It seemed like the perfect match, especially because he was so good with my daughter, who was only 12 at the time we met.
“Never in my wildest imagination did I think he could be sexually attracted to her, he seemed like such a straight man.”
Although the couple fell head over heels in love, Caroline was reluctant to let her new boyfriend move into the home she shared with Jade.
“It was our house and I didn’t want Jade to feel sidelined. I was always very careful of how she would feel because it had been just us two for so long,” she says. “Martyn worked away during the week so would come and stay at weekends.
“It worked really well because we would all have days out at the weekends and spend quality time together as a family.”
As their relationship progressed, Darlington won Jade’s trust and she looked up to him.
“Martyn was a great role model for Jade and she really loved him,” Caroline adds. “She saw him as a father figure. It made me so happy to see her laughing and joking with him.
“After so long on our own, I was really glad I could finally give her the family life she had always wanted.”
Caroline was so charmed by Darlington, even a horrifying discovery on Jade’s 16th birthday didn’t set enough alarm bells ringing.
“We’d had such a lovely day celebrating her birthday when Jade came downstairs with a camera,” Caroline says.
“She walked in and showed me a lens that had been directly facing her bed. I was speechless. I had no idea a camera had been put in place and went straight to Martyn.”
Caroline, of Treuddyn, Wales, accused Darlington of spying on her daughter.
She recalls: “I was astounded when he admitted he’d set the camera up. Words can’t describe how furious I was, I couldn’t understand why he would do that.
“But after a screaming row, he explained that he was just being overprotective.
“He said he was worried that Jade had been bringing boys back to the house and he wanted to keep an eye on them.
“Although I was angry with him for not consulting me first, I didn’t think there was any malice in his actions.”
To make sure, Caroline made Darlington put the memory card from the camera into her phone to prove he hadn’t been filming Jade.
She recalls: “When he put it into my phone, nothing came up. I don’t know anything about technology so I believed him. I was completely naive.”
After a frosty few days, the pair made up and decided to carry on with life. But Jade’s relationship with her step-dad fell apart and the pair barely spoke.
Caroline says: “Her trust was completely shattered and she never really looked at Martyn in the same way. It was hard to see her so upset but I was desperate for things to get back to the way they were before.”
A year later, in 2012, Jade moved out and the couple bought a house in Rhyl. She adds: “Our relationship was back on track and everything seemed fine. When Martyn was home he would spend hours in his office on the computer. I didn’t think much of it as I knew his job kept him very busy.
“But every time I went into the room he would close all the screens. Although I thought it was a bit odd, I never could have imagined he was hiding such a disgusting secret from me.”
It wasn’t until October 2013 that Caroline’s suspicions got the better of her and she asked her cousin to help.
She says: “I didn’t even know how to turn on a computer so asked my cousin and his wife to come and take a look at Martyn’s computer.”
“When they logged in we were bombarded with the most disturbing pornographic images. I only saw a couple of photos before I turned away, some of the children looked about six years old.
“I was utterly horrified and ran to the toilet to be sick. Thoughts were racing through my mind and I couldn’t believe what I’d seen.
“My suspicions told me I might find something incriminating but nothing could have prepared me for what we found that day. It was revolting.
“I packed my bags as quickly as I could and left that house. I couldn’t bear to be anywhere near it,” she continues. “When I told Jade, she didn’t seem surprised at all. I think she hadn’t trusted him since her 16th birthday.”
Police found 100,000 indecent images of children and Darlington was jailed for 14 months at Mold Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to three counts of voyeurism and 14 counts of possessing indecent images of children.
The judge described his behaviour as “serious and disturbing” and ordered Darlington sign the sex offender register and a ten-year sexual offences prevention order.
Caroline says Jade, now 20, hasn’t recovered since the camera was discovered in their bathroom.
“Jade was devastated and hasn’t been the same since,” she says. “She has become so introvert and I hardly recognise her from the bubbly, confident girl she was before.
“I feel so guilty that I couldn’t prevent this. It breaks my heart every day. It makes me sick to think that he will be out of prison in a matter of months.
“After everything he’s put us through, he deserves to be in jail for ten years. This was a man I trusted with my and my daughter’s life.
“Now I know he was just using me to get to my daughter because he is sick and twisted.
“I’ll never forgive myself for letting him into my life and allowing him to take away Jade’s privacy and innocence. I could kill him.”
“To think he will be released in less than a year makes us both feel completely let down by the justice system.
“For the rest of my life, I will never forgive myself for letting this happen.
“What’s more, I’m not sure I’ll ever trust anyone again. To think you know someone and then find out they have been lying to you for almost a decade, it’s earth-shattering.
“I should have seen the warning signs. It is repulsive to think the entire time we were together, he was only interested in one thing – my daughter.”