Liverpool

Southport woman denies baby abuse

Colin Blanchard
Image caption Colin Blanchard was arrested after a raid at his home

A woman sexually assaulted a five-month-old baby while her boyfriend took photographs, a court has heard.

Tracy Dawber, 43, allegedly allowed Colin Blanchard to take the photos of her abusing the baby on a sofa at her home in Southport.

She admitted being in the photographs but denied charges of sexually assaulting a child and allowing photos to be taken, Bristol Crown Court heard.

The jury heard the couple were in a relationship after meeting online.

David Morgan, prosecuting, said Ms Dawber met Mr Blanchard either through social networking website Facebook or dating website Plenty of Fish.

Police recovered two laptops at Mr Blanchard's property in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and a mobile phone in June last year.

Indecent images

Mr Morgan said: "It revealed correspondence between Colin Blanchard and Tracy Dawber, that related to a Facebook account.

"That same day, Mr Blanchard was arrested at Manchester Airport."

The Nokia mobile phone, which was recovered from Mr Blanchard's Volvo, had indecent images of children on it, the court heard.

Mr Morgan said a total of 10 images were "of interest" to the police.

The first three showed Mr Blanchard in his vehicle, the next five showed images of a young child, and the final two were of Ms Dawber and Mr Blanchard together.

Ms Dawber was arrested on 17 November 2009 and immediately denied ever touching a child, the jury heard.

Mr Morgan told the court that Ms Dawber also owned a desktop computer, which was taken for forensic examination.

An expert searched and found specific words relating to child abuse on Ms Dawber's computer - including "pre-teen" and "Lolita", the jury heard.

Mr Morgan said a file containing 40 to 50 stories about incest was also discovered on the computer.

The expert also found that an external hard-drive, named "Colin", had been connected to Ms Dawber's computer.

'Felt sick'

Ms Dawber accepted she was the person with the child on her lap in the photographs, Mr Morgan said.

"Tracy Dawber and Colin Blanchard went much further than she is now prepared to accept," he added.

Mr Morgan said an expert determined that the photos must have been taken no more than 12ins (30cm) away from the child and over a period of 64 seconds.

Ms Dawber's daughter Jenna told the court Mr Blanchard had seemed like a "decent" person when she met him.

Miss Dawber said her mother "felt sick" when she learnt of his arrest, and added: "She is loving and very supportive and very caring. She wants to be there for everyone."

The trial continues.

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