South East Wales

Claire Semmens jailed over Aaron Hughes toddler rape

Aaron Hughes and Claire Semmens Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Aaron Hughes was jailed for life for the sex attacks on the toddler handed to him by Claire Semmens

A babysitter has been jailed for 16 years for giving a three-year-old boy to a known paedophile who drugged and raped him.

Claire Semmens, 28, of Cardiff, handed the boy to Aaron Hughes, who was jailed for life for sex attacks on the toddler.

She admitted causing a child to engage in sexual activity and possessing indecent images at Cardiff Crown Court.

Hughes admitted rape and possessing indecent images.

The court heard Hughes, 32, who has a previous conviction for raping a six-year-old boy, filmed the abuse of the sedated child on his mobile phone so he could watch it on his computer.

He was caught when police did a routine check on his computer because they believed he had breached a court order by downloading child abuse images.

Semmens ran babysitting services from her flat in Cardiff, regularly looking after boys aged between three and six, the court heard.

When Hughes and his boyfriend Hamish Morgan moved into a flat next door the three became close friends. But the court heard Semmens was attracted to Mr Morgan and hoped that by providing children to Hughes it would clear the way for her to have a relationship with him.

Prosecutor Laurence Jones told the court Semmens not only supplied the boy to Hughes but allowed him to abuse him in her bedroom.

'Vile activities'

"By her own admission Semmens knew Hughes was a child sex offender who was banned from having any contact with children," said Mr Jones.

"But she was trying to satisfy Hughes's perversions for young male children."

The court heard police said Semmens had "developed a taste" for child abuse images and police found images of two other boys she had looked after on her computer.

Hughes and Semmens went on the run when they realised police were on to them.

When they were arrested Hughes told police he suffered from a multiple personality disorder and was not responsible for raping the boy.

Kevin Seal, defending Semmens, said she was a person of "hitherto clean character" until she met Hughes.

Mr Seal said: "She was induced by him, under his spell, ultimately to make the sacrifice that she did to allow the child in her care to be on his own with Hughes in her room.

"There is a breach of trust and none can think of any worse.

"There is no punishment from this court that will match what she will feel for the rest of her life - which will live with her forever."

Hashim Salman, defending Hughes, admitted "very little can be said on his behalf" but told the court the paedophile had been sexually abused as a child himself.

Mr Salman said: "The horrific events at such a young stage of his life must have had a profound affect upon him.

"He has not had any contact with his family since the year 2000 and there are issues of vulnerability.

"He suffers with depression and has made a previous attempt on his own life."

'Genuinely horrendous'

Judge Phillip Richards said he took Hughes' own child abuse into account when deciding his sentence.

But he added: "It just shows what harm there is from offences of this nature.

"It unfortunately doesn't just merely ruin people in one generation but it has the tendency to go on from generation to generation."

The judge described their crimes as "genuinely horrendous".

"It almost defies belief that any human being would do such a thing to such an innocent young child," he said.

"You, Semmens made that child available not once but twice to your paedophile friend and permitted him to carry out his vile activities with that young child in your bedroom.

"You knew full well he was a child abuser and the level of breach of trust is probably worse than Hughes."