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16-year-old Nursery apprentice 'raped and sexually assaulted eight children while at work'

A 16-year-old committed a string of sexual assaults on eight children aged between two and four while employed as a nursery assistant, a court heard.

Jayden McCarthy, now 18, allegedly used his position as a childcare apprentice in Torquay, Devon to carry out the attacks over a 19-day period in July 2019.

Exeter Crown Court was told that he was given the job at the nursery, which cannot be named for legal reasons and which has since closed, after applying for the position February 2019.

Jurors heard he satisfied the nursery owners with references and passed the appropriate barring checks, and he had also received safeguard training.

The alleged offences came to light after a three-year-old girl told her parents in graphic detail how McCarthy, from Bridgwater, Somerset, had performed a sex act on her.

The parents told the nursery, who then suspended him. Police were also contacted, who arrested McCarthy and examined 250 hours of CCTV from the nursery - from which 13 incidents were identified.

Prosecuting, Jason Beal said these included McCarthy touching girls or boys, aged two to four, while playing with them or rubbing in sun cream.

He told jurors at Exeter Crown Court that the overall effect of the CCTV was to show a pattern of his touching children under their clothing.

'The assaults were not witnessed at the time,' he said. 'The prosecution say that, watching them together, you appreciate the nature of what he was doing.

'It is the cumulative effect of his actions being repeated that allows you to see the full picture. These are not isolated incidents which have been put together to create a misleading picture. This was repeated behaviour.'

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