Adoptive parents 'failed to halt abuse of sisters'

Two young sisters were allowed by their adoptive parents to be abused by a pair of paedophiles, a jury was told today.

Both youngsters say they told them of the catalogue of abuse they suffered but they did nothing to prevent future assaults.

The mother is alleged to have said that she could not step in because one of the men "helped them with money and a car".

Last year Colin Molloy and Sam Nelson pleaded guilty to a string of sexual offences committed against the girls, which started when they were as young as seven and 13.

The husband and wife, aged 55 and 54, from Sale, Greater Manchester, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are on trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court accused of failing to protect the girls, who are now aged 10 and 16.

The husband is also said to have sexually abused his eldest daughter over a six-year period.

Today, the jury was played video police interviews of the youngest girl, who initially raised the alarm by telling her teacher last January.

She said family friend Nelson, her "uncle", had been "doing rude stuff to her" at his flat as he minded her after school while both parents were at work.

"I kept on trying to push him away but he kept on doing it," she told officers.

Nelson also played pornographic videos on his computer in her presence and masturbated to them.

When she returned home she told her parents she had been assaulted and was sore.

"My dad said if he is hurting you then don't go down there, but I said if no one is in (at home) then I have no choice," she said.

"My mum said they could not do anything because he helped them out with money and a car."

Molloy, another family friend also termed as an "uncle", raped her under her own roof.

Again both parents were informed but no action was taken, it is alleged.

In opening the case, Michael Lavery, prosecuting, said the defendants had failed the girls by not protecting them and knowingly exposed them to the two "dangerous" men.

He said the elder sister had confronted her mother about her sibling's plight but was told "just leave it, see what happens".

She also claims she was sexually abused by her father from the age of seven.

Social services became involved when the allegations were made and removed the children from the home, which the Crown say was "not fit for habitation, unkempt and unsanitary", Mr Lavery added.

The girls are now together in foster care.

Mr Lavery said the defendants would say they did not know what Molloy and Nelson were doing to the girls.

Both deny child neglect, while the husband has also pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and indecency with a child.

The jury was told Molloy and Nelson were arrested, interviewed and charged with a number of serious sexual offences against the girls.

Last April, Nelson, 43, pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with both girls and assault by penetration against the younger sister between September 2007 and January last year.

A month later Molloy, 46, admitted nine counts of rape against the younger girl between November 2007 and January 2008

The trial, scheduled to continue for up to two weeks, was adjourned to tomorrow.