Trio jailed for a total of 45 years for the sexual abuse of three children
A trio of abusers have been jailed for a total of 45 years for a horrific campaign of sexual abuse against children.
Matthew David Thatcher, 26, and his half-sister Emily Thomson, 18, targeted three children in their sustained catalogue of abuse.
The three defendants admitted to 36 counts relating to the sexual abuse of the three children aged under 16.
Cardiff Crown Court heard on Thursday that Thatcher and Thomson took photographs of themselves sexually assaulting the children and sent graphic messages about their abuse and discussed their planned abuse.
Recorder of Cardiff Eleri Rees said: “The images and messages showed a careless disregard for the welfare of the children.”
Another woman, Mandy Wright, 28, of Ely, Cardiff, was jailed for her part in the crime, including possession of images of child sex abuse.
The court heard that South Wales Police officers discovered hundreds of images of sexual abuse of children taken during the trio’s abuse, including dozens marked in the most extreme category – category A.
Speaking of Thatcher, of Ely, Cardiff, Recorder Rees added: “He descended into the darkest of places.
“He discovered that he was capable of doing the most dreadful things.
“He was caught up in something that he found very difficult to get out of.
“It was a dreadful thing that was taking place.”
Recorder Rees sentenced Thatcher to 26 years, Thomson to 12 years, and Wright to seven years.
The harrowing abuse at one point caused the children to cry “like they could not breathe”. A medical examination of one of the young victims showed signs of “chronic sexual abuse”, the court heard.
The trio’s sustained abuse came to light after Thatcher was caught trying to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old he had spoken to over Facebook.
Prosecutor Suzanne Thomas told the court that the messages became “sexual” and they arranged to meet up.
After Thatcher arrived at the location the woman reported the matter to police. Recorder Rees sentenced Thatcher to 26 years, Thomson to 12 years, and Wright to seven years.
Thatcher was charged with 15 offences, including rape and sexual assault of a child, and Thomson was charged with 16 counts including sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Wright was charged with five offences. The court also imposed sexual harm prevention orders on the trio.