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Deputy headteacher Julie Morris and partner David Morris jailed for rape and sexual abuse of child

A deputy headteacher has been jailed for 13 years and four months for the rape and sexual abuse of a child.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Julie Morris, 44, and her partner David Morris, 52, filmed themselves abusing and raping a girl under 13 in a series of videos discovered on the latter’s phone.

Julie Morris pleaded guilty to 18 offences on Wednesday, including two counts of rape, nine of inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, and two of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

She also admitted three counts of taking indecent images of a child, one of engaging in sexual communication with a child, and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

She was also ordered to serve a licence period of four years after the prison sentence.

David Morris was sentenced to 16 years in jail, with an extended licence period of four years, for 34 offences, including seven counts of rape and 13 counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Andrew Menary said: “Every now and again you see cases, the circumstances of which are almost beyond belief. This is one of those cases.

“It demonstrates that human depravity really knows no depths.”

Disturbing videos showed Julie Morris giggling as the abuse took place, the court heard.

She had been a safeguarding lead at St George’s Central C of E Primary School in Wigan, and the offences were not related to her employment there.

Prosecutor John Wyn Williams said the couple met on dating app Plenty of Fish in 2016 after both had split from their partners, and the relationship “quickly became intensely sexual”.

He said: “The communication between them became graphic and depraved, which led to some of their sexual fantasies becoming a reality.”

The court heard how Julie Morris would take pictures of other children, which were not indecent, and send them to her partner to “feed his predilection to sexually abusing young children”.

Mr Wyn Williams said the sexual abuse first came to light after police found a conversation about sexual abuse of children involving David Morris on a phone seized during a search warrant.

He was then arrested but cautioned and released and a number of devices were seized, which showed the recordings of rape and sexual abuse, the court heard.

The following day, the pair were arrested as they appeared to be trying to evade the police, Mr Wyn Williams said.

“They were on their way to the Lake District in a camper van with £10,000 in their possession,” he told the court.

Officers also trawled through 175,000 pages of messages between the couple revealing sexually explicit communications, as well as videos and images on David Morris’s phone.

In the messages, they described the victim as “our little plaything”.

The defendants also set up a group chat with the child where they would discuss how they would abuse her.

Defence lawyer Paul Becker said Julie Morris had “lost everything in life”, including her reputation, career and home.

He said: “She was held in high regard prior to her offending.”

David Morris’s defence lawyer, Charles Lander, said he had shown genuine remorse and was “under no illusions” that he would be going to prison for a long time.

Mairead Neeson, senior CPS prosecutor, said the case was one of the worst she’d seen, adding: “The descriptions of what they did are so horrific that when I finished reading them, I burst into tears.”

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