A mum's failure to protect her son from two evil rapists and the actions of social services are now the focus of a council investigation.

David Bradbury, 55, filmed his partner William Gamble as the 65-year-old carried out horrific sexual abuse against a little boy.

The couple abused him at their St Helens home and Bradbury offered to pay the child's mum £30 for more access to the victim.

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The mum, who cannot be named as that would identify her son, ignored repeated warnings from police and social services.

Bradbury and Gamble were both jailed for 16 years in March, before the mum was locked up for four years earlier this week.

She admitted child neglect and conceded she had deliberately and repeatedly exposed her son to the risk of sexual abuse.

St Helens Council is now investigating whether social services could have done more to protect the little boy.

A council spokesperson said: "This is an abhorrent case that has shocked the community, and we are pleased to see that the judge has handed down substantial sentences for both the perpetrators and the mother who demonstrably failed in her most important duty as a parent - to keep her child safe.

"Social workers and police officers repeatedly set clear measures in place to safeguard the child but the mother failed to follow these through and repeatedly put her child in harm's way despite the risks being explained to her.

"Once this horrifying abuse came to light we worked proactively with partners in the police to pursue these prosecutions.

"We continue to support the victim and their family through dealing with the trauma of this case and every court appearance has been immensely difficult for them as it brings back to life their experience. We would therefore ask for the family's privacy to be protected at this challenging time.

"As a result of this case we, alongside our partners at the Child Safeguarding Partnership, are conducting a review into our processes and where there are issues to be addressed we will establish an action plan to deal with any necessary changes."

Liverpool Crown Court heard police visited the mum's home and learned her son was regularly sleeping in the same bed as Gamble.

Sarah Holt, prosecuting, said the mum confirmed this was true, but said: "They’re fully clothed, you know, nothing like that."

An officer told her he had "real concerns", this contact should stop and under no circumstances should Gamble be left alone with the boy.

The mum claimed she wanted nothing more to do with Gamble and the officer spoke to the boy, who said he was friends with Gamble, but didn't disclose any abuse.

A social worker was allocated to the family, who later discovered the boy was at Gamble and Bradbury's home.

The mum said she "couldn't say no" to the pair and the boy was seen with his head in his hands, shaking and repeating: "I hate my life."

The mum again said she wouldn't let her son go to their home and was told not to let him speak to them unsupervised.

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Social services later found Bradbury had talked to the boy unsupervised and the boy had asked his mum if he could visit them, because he missed them.

Later that day, the mum sent Bradbury a text message saying: "Send him home at 7 please."

In a reply from his phone, Bradbury asked the mum whether he could sleep in bed with her son on three occasions, adding: "I will give you 30 pound."

She replied: "No, not allowed social worker said so."

On another day, she text Bradbury saying "thank you for the crisp Dave" to which he replied "no thanks needed can I just ask can I see him any" and she answered "when the social worker says so I got a by by her".

The mum text Bradbury on another occasion saying "good night Dave thank you for he’s sweets x".

Social services decided the boy was "at risk of significant harm" and a safety plan was outlined to the mum.

She was invited to an "Initial Child Protection Conference", but on the same day she received the invite, her son was twice filmed being raped.

It was decided at the conference that a child protection order should be made.

The mum was told her son should not have any contact with the couple and said she had been following the safety plan.

She was reminded of this on three further occasions.

There is help out there for victims of rape and sexual assault and other sexual crimes.

The NHS recommends a range of services and support networks which are gathered on the NHS Choices website.

Merseyside Police have specially trained officers who are experienced in investigating sexual assaults in the most sensitive way.

If you’d like to report online, rather than speaking to an officer by telephone in the first instance, you can use Merseyside Police's online crime reporting service which is secure and confidential.

If you’d like to talk to someone, the national non-emergency telephone number is staffed 24/7 and can be reached by calling 101.

For emergency calls contact call 999

Information on the services offered locally is gathered on Merseyide Police's website.

Charities offering advice include RASA Merseyside, rapecrisis and safeline.

However, on a further date her son asked her on WhatsApp if he could go to the couple's house and she gave him a time to be home.

There were numerous video calls between the boy and Gamble.

The mum also sent a photo of her son lying on a rug and two photos of the boy in school uniform to Gamble.

Three videos were created on two further dates, which showed the boy being raped at Gamble and Bradbury's home.

The mum and Gamble exchanged further texts and calls, before she was visited by two detectives and a social worker, when she claimed she hadn't seen the couple recently.

Pictured is Liverpool Crown Court

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The abuse was only discovered after Gamble and Bradbury uploaded an image of child abuse, not involving the same boy, to Facebook.

When police raided their home they discovered indecent images, plus sweets, toys and games, used to groom their victim.

Ian Morris, defending, said the remorseful mum had been "vulnerable" and Bradbury and Gamble "preyed" on this, offering her financial help.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, accepted the mum had been susceptible to pressure from the rapists, who had been kind to her.

However, he said: "That kindness had a sinister motive behind it. You may not have been aware of their intentions from the outset, but when you were aware, you repeatedly ignored those warnings."

All victims (and alleged victims) of sexual offences have a lifelong legal right to anonymity. As a result, the Echo cannot publish anything which is likely to identify a victim of a sexual offence.

The judge said the mum deliberately breached the agreement she reached with social services, allowed contact between her son and Bradbury and Gamble, and why she thought they wanted the photos she sent them "defies belief".

Judge Flewitt said: "Those offences would not have happened if you had followed the advice you had been given. You may have been vulnerable, but you were not so stupid that you did not appreciate the risks.

"It was acknowledged on your behalf that you deliberately and repeatedly exposed your son to the risk of sexual abuse."

Judge Flewitt said: "It is hard to imagine a more serious form of neglect."

Anyone with information about or who wants to report a sexual offence allegation can call police on 101, where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers, or you can pass information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Support for victims is also available from the registered charity the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063, or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.

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