Peterborough 'worst sex abuse' babysitter couple jailed

Michael Chase and Lara Chase Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Babysitters Michael and Lara Chase were "every parent's worst nightmare", police said

A husband and wife have been jailed for sexually assaulting a 13-month-old toddler in what a judge described as the "worst abuse of a baby" he had ever seen.

The assaults took place over a two-year period when Michael Chase, 52, and wife Lara, 46, of Bathurst, Peterborough, were babysitting the girl.

Chase admitted the charges last year. His wife was found guilty this week.

Chase was given 14 years and his wife 13 years by Judge Sean Enright.

Peterborough Crown Court heard the couple sexually assaulted and took images of the girl while babysitting her between October 2012 and December 2014. She was 13 months old when the abuse began.

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They were "every parent's worst nightmare", Det Con Lloyd Metselaar, from Cambridgeshire Police, said.

"The appalling acts committed together by both Michael and Lara on such a young child who had been entrusted into their care, demonstrate the most serious breach of trust."

Michael Chase pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13; four of taking indecent photographs of a child; three of possessing indecent photographs of a child; possessing a prohibited image of a child; possessing an extreme pornographic image and making 4,524 indecent photographs of children.

Lara Chase pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13 and one count of distributing indecent photographs of a child, but was found guilty following a trial on 7 March.

During the trial she claimed she was unaware of her husband's paedophilia but a jury convicted her after hearing Chase had "assisted" her husband in the abuse.

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