A Forest couple have been jailed for a total of 13 years and five months for sex offences against their 20-month-old baby daughter.

Prosecutor Michael Hall told Gloucester Crown Court that the offences related to 2016 when the couple, a man now aged 35 and his 27-year-old woman partner, had been planning to get married.

He said the man had a fantasy about abusing their daughter on his wedding night.

He added: ““The couple exchanged more than 3,000 texts over a period of five days in March 2016.”

Mr Hall explained that the offences only came to light on March 22 of this year when police searched the man’s mobile phone as part of the terms of a court order.  

He claimed his grandmother had given him the phone last year because it was old and had hardly been used. 

He denied the offences for which he had been arrested.

The police examined the phone and found that some 3,000 text messages had been sent between him and his partner, which included an indecent image of him with the baby.

Mr Hall added: “The messages were highly sexualised and included sexual abuse by the man and the woman on their 20-month-old daughter.’’

In a statement, the man denied sexual activity with a family member while the woman claimed he had been controlling and coercive towards her and would have thrown her out if she did not comply.

She said the messages were “fantasy”

Mr Hall said the messages contradicted the woman’s claim of being a victim of control and coercion.

He said: “The text messages do not bear this out. There was no evidence of the man being controlling and coercive towards the woman.”

Mr Hall stated that the man was the driving force behind the text messaging and that she had been a willing partner in the “sexting”. Some of the messaging was fantasy.

The court was told that on March 21, 2016 the man wrote that “the baby should be in our room on our wedding night.’ She replied ‘that’s fine by me.”

The man tells her: “You know why.” To which she replies: “Of course I do. You have my permission.”

The man clarifies the situation: “Permission for what?” Her response is: “Whatever you want.”

She warned him not to rape the child.

Jason Coulter defending the man said: “This was an extraordinary feat of offending. The best possible mitigation I can offer is that he pleaded guilty on the day of the trial.

“The abuse that took place was mercifully limited in number, short lived and the baby was of an age that she has no recollection of it.

“Up until his offending, which was alcohol fuelled, he had been a man of good character.

“He was indulging in a series of sexual fantasies with a willing partner. However he took matters a stage further and sent her the indecent image of him indulging in a fantasy with their daughter.

“He has had an unpleasant time in custody, but he has managed to dry out since he was remanded. He realises that he will never have unsupervised access to his daughter for the rest of his life, if ever.”

“Pina Silvio defending the woman said: “This vulnerable woman first met her partner when she was 17, having been a deprived child who was desperate for love and affection. “

She admits that she derived some pleasure from the text messaging exchanges. “However she clearly got upset by some of the messages and frequently asked him to stop when she felt that the messages were inappropriate. She felt that he would never carry out his fantasy.

“Over the past two years she has completely changed her life. She is no longer a timid and introverted woman and fully admits her part in this.

“She has made some wrong decisions in her adult life. She was a very young naive girl when she met her partner and now her child has been taken away from her.

“She has been remanded since April and whilst in prison she is helping other women who don’t have a voice.”

The man pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a child under 13, including touching the child in a sexual manner between March 20 and 25, 2016; and taking and distributing an indecent picture of the child on March 22, 2016,

The woman admitted that between March 20 and 25, 2016 she attempted facilitation of an act which she believed would result in a sexual offence: she further admitted that she allowed the sexual offence to happen.

Judge Jason Taylor KC told both defendants: “Mercifully the child does not have any memory of this. That is not to say she will not struggle in years to come knowing what her parents did to her. You both will have to live with that for the rest of your lives.

“This is a grave abuse of trust in which you failed to protect your child and you must realise the seriousness of your offending.”

Sentencing the man to nine years and two months in prison, Judge Taylor said: “You had a sexual interest in your own daughter. It was both graphic and depraved. It is difficult to see there is genuine remorse on your part.

“I would better describe it as regret. You have effectively lost your relationship with your daughter for good.

“You have spent your time while remanded in custody dealing with your alcohol problems.”

The judge also subjected  him to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

The judge told the woman that she was complicit in the actions of her partner towards their daughter, but she had not been the driving force.

Judge Taylor added: “You were motivated by desire to keep your partner happy. However any suggestion over coercion is wholly inaccurate. This was willing active involvement for your own reasons.

“However, you are genuinely remorseful and you have accepted professional help in dealing with your situation.

“You have since lost your child as part of this process, which is a heavy price to pay for any mother. You have also used your time in custody to good effect. There is a low likelihood of reoffending.”

The judge sentenced the woman to a jail term of four years and nine months.