“THIS is one of the worst cases I have been involved in," a Senior Crown Prosecutor said, as she welcomed the sentencing of child abusers Bevan, Hutton and Rafferty.

Vicki Bevan, 37, Tony Hutton 42, and Paul Rafferty, 62, who are all from St Helens, appeared in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court today (May 13).

Overwhelming images of the abuse, which included rape, were found on Ms Bevan’s phone.

Bevan, of Newtown, St Helens, was given a life sentence, and must serve at least 10 years and 44 days in prison before being eligible for parole.

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The judge stressed this is a "life sentence" and the minimum time to be served is "not a fixed term but is the initial term before the Parole Board can undertake a first review".

Rafferty Rafferty, of Fry Street, Parr, was given an extended sentence, consisting of a 10-year custodial term and four years on licence.

Meanwhile, Hutton, of Liverpool Street, St Helens, was sentenced to four years.

READ>NSPCC brand abuse as 'horrific and sustained'

Senior Crown Prosecutor Pauline Newrick, a specialist prosecutor with CPS Mersey-Cheshire Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit, said: “This is one of the worst cases I have been involved in, in my time at the Crown Prosecution Service.

“There are certain cases that it is difficult to get out of your waking thoughts.

“This is a woman who has gone out of her way to satisfy her own sexual needs and those of men she communicates with online by abusing a young girl.

“She has assisted men to rape and sexually abuse this child and has also sexually abused her for her own personal pleasure.

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“If she had not been caught, no doubt she would have continued arranging for this young girl and potentially others to be abused by herself and men in the most horrendous way. “She has not confined herself to the actual abuse - she has encouraged others to participate. What woman could do that to a child?”

Pauline added: “This is the world that a CPS RASSO prosecutor lives in, in their daily work and it is not easy to deal with cases like this, day in and day out.

“We do it because we care and because we want to achieve justice for the victims who are subjected to the brutality and depravity of the offenders.

“An innocent child is at the heart of this case – a child who was dragged into the depraved and sordid world of these three people who could have tried to protect her.

“That child is now receiving the care and support she has a right to expect. We hope this successful conclusion of this case helps her in the long journey ahead.”

Merseyside Police have also welcomed the sentencing, branding the crimes as "deplorable".

Deplorable offences

Detective Chief Inspector Allison Woods, added: “These extremely disturbing crimes committed by Bevan, Rafferty and Hutton have caused great psychological and physical harm to their victims and destroyed lives.

“They repeatedly subjected them to deplorable offences, and we welcome the lengthy sentences given out by the court today.

"Thanks to our extensive investigations with St Helens Social Services these three despicable offenders are all behind bars where they pose no further risk to other children.

“I would like to thank the detectives and social workers on the investigation team who have worked tirelessly to support the victims of Bevan, Rafferty and Hutton and gather evidence to bring them to justice.

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“It proves that Merseyside Police are completely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and those who seek to do them harm.

“If you have experienced any form of sexual abuse, or know of a child being abused, please come forward and report this to police.

“We have a specialist team committed to dealing with all forms of child abuse, who will treat any information from you extremely seriously, and will follow up every report and any information that comes in, so please report this to us.”

“I can assure anyone who reports such offences that you will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and fully supported through the entire process.”

How to report an offence

Anyone with information or who wants to report a sexual offence allegation is asked to call 101, where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers, or @MerPolCC on social media. You can pass information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. Call 999 if you suspect such an incident is in progress.

If you are a child or young person suffering sexual or physical abuse, the following organisations can also provide help and support: NSPCC – call 0808 800 5000 or e-mail help@nspcc.org.uk.

Childline – call 0800 1111 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063 or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.