Australian mother jailed for sex abuse of daughter to please boyfriend

SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian mother who sexually abused her daughter to maintain the affection of her boyfriend has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, reports said on Friday.

The South Australian District Court heard that the woman, 35, had abused the 10-year-old girl and photographed the encounters to gratify her 37-year-old partner, who was a teacher.

"This was very serious offending against a defenceless child by the very people who should have been protecting, not offending against, her," Judge Simon Stretton said, domestic news agency AAP reported.

"You were her mother, for goodness' sake." The woman was charged with unlawful sexual intercourse, indecent assault and producing child pornography. The man pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and to producing and possessing child pornography.

The pair were sentenced to five-and-a-half years with three-and-a-half year non-parole period, the court said.

The court heard the woman had been terrified of losing her boyfriend, but Judge Stretton said they were both "willing participants in the abberant sexual activity performed in this matter".

"(This was) a gross breach of trust and a gross exploitation of a vulnerable child ... worse still, that child was your daughter," he said.

The crime was discovered after police uncovered the photographs as they investigated the teacher because of suspicious online conversations.

"He was good to you and you became determined to please him and for the relationship to survive at all costs," the judge told the woman, according to AAP.

A report on ABC News said the court had earlier heard that the woman, who had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, had been deeply insecure and inordinately afraid of being alone.

It also reported that the man's lawyer, named as Scott Henchliffe, told the court his client had a "deluded concept of sexual experimentation".

He added that the man now cannot understand how he could have justified in his own mind his actions, the article said.

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