Babysitters from hell guilty of child pornography charges in Brisbane District Court
Babysitters from hell who photographed themselves in sexual poses with a toddler have been jailed
after police found the images stored on computers alongside child porn movies, photos and animation.
Nicholas James Murdoch, 27, and
Loren Marita Fothergill, 28, pleaded guilty in Brisbane
District Court today to 10 counts of indecent treatment of a child, making child exploitation material
and for possessing child exploitation material.
Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said Australian Federal Police investigating the pair over a large
quantity of child pornography material found photos that revealed the indecent treatment of a little
girl, aged between two and three, and the creation of exploitative images between April 2011 and March 2013.
Mr McCarthy said the images showed Fothergill holding the child’s genitalia open with her fingers
and showed Murdoch’s erect penis being held by the child. The girl was positioned in the photos so
that her genitalia was exposed for the camera.
He said the couple tried to downplay the images when police contacted them, saying
they were within the realm of ``a child’s curiosity’’.
Judge Brian Harrison said the couple’s offending amounted to ``blatant abuse’’.
``Your offending involved the blatant sexual exploitation of a girl who was two to
three years of age and who was place in your care,’’ he said.
``On at least two separate occasions you used that child to produce what can only
be described as child pornography images.’’
Ben Satiu, for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, said police
tracked a large number of serious child pornographic images being accessed and stored on computers belonging to Murdoch.
He said police found 6921 child porn images and 713 videos were accessed over a five-year period.
Mr Satiu said the images included animations and a substantial number of serious category four and
five photos and movies that depicted sexual contact between children and adults.
He said the youngest children were just three-months-old, some depicted young girls engaging
in sex acts with dogs and others showed men urinating and defecating on children.
Barrister Mark Johnson, for the couple, said the behaviour of the pair was ``simply inexplicable’’.
He said the pair were diagnosed with severe depression since charges were laid against them and
although they were ``immature’’ about the proceedings and the likelihood of going to jail, they
had recently grown to understand there would be consequences to their offending.
He said both came from broken and unstable families but started a relationship in October, 2008.
Mr Johnson said Murdoch was a qualified electrician who had his own business,
which Fothergill helped him to establish.
``What not only these two people need but also the community needs, is not only a
penalty in the form of a deterrent sentence, but also detailed and ongoing psychological assistance,’’ he said.
Judge Harrison sentenced Murdoch to 3.5 years in jail and set parole eligibility for July 8, 2015.
Fothergill was sentenced to three years with a parole eligibility set for May 8, 2015.