A COUPLE whose South Yorkshire home was described as ‘like a nursery’ because it was visited by so many children, allowed a ‘predatory and manipulative’ paedophile to abuse nine youngsters at the property, a court heard.
Louise Margaret Jenkins, aged 31, and David Underwood, 39, allowed Underwood’s convicted sex offender brother Dean to visit their Rotherham home every weekend after his release from prison - despite being warned by social services he was high risk.
Sheffield Crown Court heard he used children’s toys - including a games console, motorbike and trampoline - to bribe the visiting children into keeping quiet about the abuse which was going on.
Underwood had been jailed for committing previous sex attacks on children, but in July 2004 the authorities were made aware he had been released.
A social worker met David Underwood and warned him about his brother, but the bus driver told the social worker he was under the impression his brother had been in prison for violent offences.
In December 2004 the couple were visited and warned again Dean was a high risk offender.
Then, in July 2008, Dean Underwood was arrested after allegations of sexual abuse at the house by nine separate complainants.
Rachel Harrison, prosecuting, said Dean had been a regular at the property and had visited there most weekends.
Graham Huston, defending David Underwood, now of Westlea, Clowne, said it was barely possible to imagine a man ‘more evil’ than Dean Underwood.
He said he had ‘manipulated’ his brother into trusting that nothing was going on. “He used the defendant - who didn’t understand the predatory lengths people go to - to get access to children.” He added David Underwood could not comprehend that his brother sexually abused children and, as a result, didn’t understand the risks he posed. He said: “It’s simply not within his orbit of understanding.”
Timothy Bubb, defending Jenkins, now of Lordens Hill, Dinnington, Rotherham, said she didn’t appreciate the risks due to ‘low intelligence’ and did not see any of the abuse taking place. The couple each admitted two counts of wilful neglect.
Jailing Underwood for 12 months and his ex partner for eight, Judge Michael Murphy QC said that, despite their difficulties, the couple had to be punished.
Dean Underwood is already in prison again after being locked up indefinitely for the protection of the public in January 2009, and ordered to serve a minimum of five-and-half years.