A peadophile and his girlfriend, who systematically abused a child in a series of depraved acts, are now behind bars.
John Brooker, 68, and Lesley Trewhitt, 56, were told they knew what they were doing when they abused the child in the Northallerton and Hartlepool areas in the 1990s.
Mr Brooker, of Lansdowne Gardens, Newcastle, admitted four charges of indecent assault and two charges of indecency with a child, while Trewhitt, 56, of Green Batt, Alnwick, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to eight charges of a serious sexual nature.
The shamed couple, who were once married but have since separated, had their heads in the hands, while they heard the evidence against them at Teesside Crown Court.
Prosecutor, Patricia Docherty, told the court how former nurse Ms Trewhitt had sex with the school pupil while Mr Brooker, a retired consultant anaesthetist, engaged the child in a series of sickening acts.
Ms Docherty said the victim’s school life was affected and as an adult they had had to see a therapist, as they struggled with long-term relationships.
She also told the court how Mr Brooker had admitted his guilt from the start, saying it had been troubling him for years and that he was a “coward” and thought he would get away with it.
Ms Trewhitt made no comment when she was interviewed about the matter.
Matthew Donkin, defending Mr Brooker, said his client accepted full responsibility for his part in the abuse and expected to go to prison.
He said: “He has no history of any such offending at all and is a man of previous good character and lived a life as a respected consultant anaesthetist.
“His reputation is now entirely in ruins and that in itself is some price to pay.”
Ms Trewhitt’s barrister, Tom Finch, however, described his client as “mentally vulnerable” and said it was Mr Brooker who encouraged the sexual acts.
He also referred to a psychiatric report where Ms Trewhitt told doctors she felt “in awe” of Mr Brooker and wanted to please him, but had “meaningful regret in her ability to say no”.
Judge Simon Hickey told the pair: “I cannot lose sight of the fact that both of you were abusing the same victim at the same time and for a significant number of years, so you cannot be divorced from what the other was doing – you knew exactly what you were doing.”
He also rejected Ms Trewhitt’s claim that Mr Brooker was the ringleader.
Mr Brooker was sentenced to five years in prison and Ms Trewhitt four-and-a-half years.
Words: Jennifer Tomlin, North News and Pictures (NNP).