Girlfriend 'took lead role in sexual abuse of baby'

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The Independent Online

A paedophile said in court today he was told what to do by his then girlfriend as the pair sexually assaulted and took photographs of a five-month-old baby.

Colin Blanchard said it was Tracy Dawber, 44, who took the lead in the abuse.

Dawber, formerly of Bedford Road, Southport, Merseyside, denies the assault and permitting Blanchard to take the five indecent pictures.

Blanchard, 40, formerly from Rochdale, Lancs, is in custody awaiting sentence after admitting his involvement in the alleged assault by Dawber.

He told the jury at Winchester Crown Court today that Dawber had lifted the child's clothes to show it had no nappy on and he said Dawber told him to look at the child and to take the photographs.

"I was quite passive in the whole thing. I was taking the photographs as instructed," he said.

"I took a photograph and she asked me to show it to her and then I took another and I showed it again and she repositioned the child accordingly."

He said there had been sexual talk during the taking of the images but not much was said afterwards.

The pair had first had normal sex when they met in 2007 before moving on to what Blanchard described to the jury as an "A to Z of sexual desires and fantasies" and the pair discussed child sex.

During cross-examination by Deborah Gould, Blanchard admitted he was selfish and arrogant, that he lied to police and had tried to blame others.

He admitted he had been involved with many other woman including two named in court as Vanessa George and Tracy Lyons.

He had also sent images of child sex to two unnamed women, he admitted to the jury.

He said before his arrest he had been living a "double life".

Miss Gould asked: Did you know what the truth was at that time?"

Blanchard: "No".

Miss Gould: "But you know now?"

Blanchard: "Yes, as strange as it may seem."

Earlier the jury heard Dawber admitted it was her holding the baby in the photographs but denied the alleged wrongdoing.

In interview Dawber told police she could not remember the pictures being taken, but Simon Morgan, prosecuting, told the jury the Nokia phone always flashed when it took the pictures.

He said some had been taken from only about 9in away on August 20 2008.

"The Crown say the defendant was able to see the phone being used," he said.

Mr Morgan said the pair met in 2007 and had a sexual relationship and that she had "linked herself to his grossly unacceptable activities".

She described him as a sociable person but said she had been "disgusted when she heard on the news what he had been involved with".

Blanchard was caught in June 2009 when a work colleague discovered child pornography on his computer, the court heard.

He was arrested at Manchester airport and a connection via a Facebook account was made with Dawber.

Officers also uncovered the mobile phone from Blanchard's Volvo that contained the images of the baby, which were shown to the jury. It also showed Dawber in explicit poses.

When arrested in November 2009 Dawber would not confirm it was her holding the baby but she later admitted it.

Officers found child pornography on her computer that was the same as that discovered on Blanchard's and search words on her machine linked to child porn such as "Lolita". A PDF file containing stories about incest was also found.