Britain's 'most repulsive couple' who sexually abused girl, 12, before starving and beating kids jailed for 35 years

BRITAIN'S "most repulsive couple" who sexually abused a 12-year-old girl before starving and beating a string of other kids have been jailed for 35 years.

A judge heard Nicholas Harris, 54, and Claire Buttice, 41, subjected the young girl to vile attacks for their own sexual gratification.

They beat a number of other youngsters with sticks and deprived them of food in a horrific campaign of physical and mental abuse.

Cops launched an investigation into the sick couple after the victims came forward to report their terrifying ordeal.

In a victim statement, the 12-year-old girl said she suffers from insomnia and has nightmares as a result of the abuse.

Harris and Buttice, from Bedford, were convicted of sex abuse offences against the girl and cruelty against other children after a trial at Luton Crown Court.

Harris was jailed for 23 years and Buttice was locked up for 12 years.

They were both ordered to register as sex offenders indefinitely.

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The pair will also have to serve two-thirds of their sentences before they can be considered for release.

Detective Constable Nina Bradbury from Bedfordshire Police said: "This was a horrific series of crimes, in which children were exploited into performing acts for the offenders' sexual gratification.

"These offences have had a significant impact on the victims, and they will carry this trauma with them for the rest of their lives.

"I am pleased the courts have issued such a strong custodial sentence and that this repulsive pair will spend a long time behind bars."

Ms Bradbury added: "This case was a lengthy and complex investigation, and is just one of many which demonstrates our commitment to tackling offenders and keeping children safe.

"Protecting children from this kind of sickening abuse is absolutely imperative – and work that needs our collective effort to succeed.

"Our specialist officers and partnership services will continue to work with and support the victims as they try to move on with their lives.

"But if you have concerns that a child is being neglected, exploited or abused, these concerns are too important not to share.

"We must all play our part in protecting children."

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