Youngest paedophile jailed in Britain for attacks on kids
A TEENAGE childcare worker has been convicted for sexually abusing two children charged in her care in Britain.
The 18-year-old woman was found to have abused the trust placed in her as a nursery worker to assault the young children.
Sophie Elms was jailed on Monday for molesting two sisters, aged two and three years old when she was 17.
While the attacks did not occur at the children's nursery, the trial judge ruled Elms had breached trust bestowed on her by the parents.
"The parents of these children were comforted by the fact that you were doing a childcare course. In my judgment, this was a breach of trust," Judge Jason Taylor said.
Elms, now 18, is one of the youngest women in Britain to be imprisoned for sex crimes against children.
The victims' father wrote an impassioned victim impact statement to the court, saying the breach of trust was "unimaginable".
"We asked you if you wanted to care for them overnight, to help with your studies. Not for one moment would we have imagined that this decision would change our lives forever," it read.
"We honestly do not know the full extent of damage you have left on our two beautiful babies."
The statement went on to say the family will be relocating their home overseas as they fear ever encountering Elms again.
Elms carried out the attacks after a sex offender contacted her online and incited her to abuse the children and send him indecent pictures. He has been jailed for 15 years.
She pleaded guilty to all 16 offences and sobbed as her sentencing was handed down. The judge accepted that Elms had been "targeted and exploited" by the man who encouraged her to abuse the children.
But the judge added: "To lay all the responsibility at his door is misleading and, in my opinion, wrong."
Swindon Crown Court was told that Elms' place on a childcare course reassured the parents of her victims the infants would be safe in her care.
"In my judgment, this was a breach of trust. They never suspected you would breach the tremendous trust they placed in you - but you did," Judge Taylor said.
"In a deliberate and calculated manner, you targeted these young children. With a sinister and hidden agenda, you deceived the parents of these children to gain access to the children. Your behaviour had elements of planning. You knew that it was wrong. Their (family) are broken people, and you're the one that broke them. They will never recover."
The 16 offences Elms pleaded guilty to included sexual assault and taking and distributing indecent photographs of the children.
The offences occurred between December 2016 and March 2018 when Elms was 17.
In his victim statement read to the court, the father of the two girls said Elms had "completely destroyed our lives". The court heard that, aged 16, Elms started attending Swindon College and was undertaking a placement in childcare.
But in early 2017 she began online contact with sex offender David Gearing.
"Miss Elms started out with innocuous photos of the two children - that is, fully clothed - sent to David Gearing.
"But this soon moved on to pictures of the children naked, and images of Miss Elms touching the children - which, to an extent, were requested by Gearing," said prosecutor Hannah Squire.
Elms, from Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, carried out two sexual assaults against each child.
Chris Smyth, in mitigation, said Elms was groomed from the age of 13 by four different men, at least two of whom have been prosecuted.
"Elms is one of the youngest women in the country to be convicted of these types of offences, and at the time of committing them she was studying childcare with a long-term aim of working with very young children," Detective Inspector Simon Childe said following her sentencing.
"I am extremely grateful to my dedicated officers who have been able to intercept and prevent her from working with children ever again."
Elms was also given a sexual harm prevention order and an indefinite restraining order.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)