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'Depraved' couple jailed for 26 years for systematic sexual abuse of young girls
10 May 2022, 23:49 | Updated: 10 May 2022, 23:53
A "depraved" couple have been jailed for a total of 26 years for repeatedly sexually abusing two girls over a number of years, including forcing them to take part in threesomes.
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John Mills, 38, and Tiffany Eccles, 27, admitted more than 20 offences between them including rape, sexual assault, and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
In November 2021, a teenage girl attended Bury police station with her mother to report Mills and Eccles for sexually assaulting her for almost five years, starting when she was just eight.
The couple were arrested that day.
Greater Manchester Police said the girl described several incidents of serious sexual offences, with Mills often inciting the victim to "do things" involving himself and Eccles, engaging in sexual activity with them both at the same time.
He tried to communicate with the girl sexually on social media, encouraged her to engage in sexual activity with Eccles and forced her to watch video of Eccles having sex with one of his friends, the force added.
Mills was found to have sexually assaulted the girl at a camping site in Cumbria, raped her in a car on a dirt-track in Farnworth, at an address in Whitefield and at multiple addresses in Bury.
Following the arrests, a second report was made to police by another teenage girl who also alleged serious and persistent sexual offences by the couple.
The abuse started when the girl was as young as three years old, police said.
She said Mills would ask to do sexual acts with her and even told her about the activity he engaged in with the first victim when he raped her for the first time.
Eccles was regularly present, she said, actively engaging in the abuse and encouraging the victims to act on Mills' requests.
Mills, of Rochdale Road, Bury, was jailed for 19 years and three months at Manchester Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child under 13, three counts of assault of a child under 13 by penetration and two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity - in relation to the first victim.
In relation to the second girl, he admitted three counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, six counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
Eccles, also of Rochdale Road, was jailed for seven years and two months for - in relation to the first victim - one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
In relation to the second victim, she pleaded guilty to one count of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
Both victims were praised by investigating officers.
Detective Constable Nichola McGregor said: "Their courage has helped secure lengthy prison terms for both offenders, ensuring they are no longer out in the community engaging in their predatory actions.
"The two girls have endured repeated sexual abuse, the like of which nobody should have to endure, but - despite their young age - their tenacity and resilience throughout the investigation and court process has been astounding; they truly are a credit to themselves.
"Mills and Eccles jointly and systematically sexually abused these two children over numerous years and in multiple locations. They took advantage of their vulnerability; they groomed them, trying to convince them that the depraved acts they were engaging in were normal behaviours.
"Their sentencing will hopefully bring some closure to their two survivors who have spoken to us."
Anyone with information or concerns about someone being sexually abused can contact police by calling 101.
Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.