ONE of Britain's youngest paedophiles has been sentenced to more than seven years in Swindon.

Sophie Elms, from Royal Wootton Bassett, was sentenced for seven years and ten months in prison at Swindon Crown Court.

The 18-year-old admitted molesting two young children. She has also been convicted of possessing extreme indecent images of a child and pornographic images of an animal.

Elms was babysitting toddlers when she filmed herself abusing them and sent the images to known sex offenders.  Passing sentence on the 18-year-old Judge Jason Taylor QC told her: "Only time will tell what damage you have inflicted."

The child care student, who had been groomed as a girl of 13, sent the vile material to at least four men.

In one of the images the tot was drinking milk from a baby bottle as Elms indecently touched her.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Elms was caught after police smashed a paedophile ring in the West Mercia region last year.  When the phones of convicted sex offender David Geering, who is serving 15 years, were examined it was discovered he had been in contact with Elms.  WhatsApp and other messages showed he had encouraged her to send him movies of her abusing the children, and she had done as he asked.

“It started with innocuous photographs of the children. She started out sending those to David Geering,” Miss Squire said. “By innocuous I mean clothed. They moved on to pictures of the children naked. To an extent those photographs were requested by David Geering.  And it then moved on to requests for the children - for images of Sophie Elms touching the children.” 

During 2016 she said the teenager carried out serious sexual assaults on the little girls, who were aged two and three, which were sent to Geering.

“It is a matter of common sense that when they are sent to one person they are sent to another person and then, to use that dreaded phrase, they go viral,” she said  There was evidence the pictures and movies had been sent to at least three others. 

Other images where the children could not be identified, as well as material she had not made, were also found on her mobile phones.  While she was encouraged to take and send many of the vile pictures, some were sent unsolicited by her, Miss Squire said. 

Elms, of Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, admitted four counts of sexual assault, four of taking and six of distributing indecent images of children and two of possessing extreme pornography.

The offences took place between the start of December 2016 and March 11 last year.  In a harrowing victim personal statement the girls’ father told the court their lives had been ruined by her offending and he felt she showed no remorse. 

He said one of the girls had night terrors and said that Elms had told them to keep what she was doing to them a secret. Both showed devastating learned behaviours, especially at bath time, brought on by what they had been through, he said. 

Chris Smyth, defending, said that his client was a naive, immature, isolated girl who struggled at school and was easily led.  He said she was contacted online when she was aged 13 and there were four separate cases where she had been groomed over social media. At least two men were prosecuted. 

“She is described as craving the attention of others, which she appears to have found in the sexually driven desires of online abusers, and she was easy prey to them,” he said.   “She was and remains a vulnerable, immature, individual for reasons which perhaps are down to her own lack of social skills. 

“To say she has no remorse would not, if I may say with the greatest respect, fit.”  Jailing her the judge said: "In the digital world sharing images is akin to lighting touch paper and walking away.

"You had no control over what other men did with these images. No one did. What a horrible thought for the children. What a horrible thought for those girls as they grow up and you are responsible for that."

Talking about her seeking attention from others online he said: "You selfishly prioritised those things over the welfare of those three young children in your care."

He imposed a sexual harm prevention order and told her she must register as a sex offender for life.