Reading Crown Court yesterday found a gay couple guilty of the sexual abuse of a young child.

Alan Howitt, 38, a former soldier had admitted to eleven charges of indecent assault. His lover, 33 year old James Rae, a mannequin dresser in Marks and Spencer, had denied any involvement in the abuse of the child.

The victim’s mother, a ten year long friend of the couple that would frequently babysit for her son, first realised what was going on when he started imitating sexual acts at home. When questioned he said “they would do rude stuff to me”. Pictures found by police on the couple’s home computer indicate that the earliest incident of abuse happened when the child was as young as six months old.

In an attempt to thwart his lover’s conviction Howitt claimed that Rae had no knowledge of the abuse and that he did not know the passwords to access the files on the computer.

John Price, prosecuting, pointed out that though he does not appear in the pictures Rae would almost certainly have held the camera.

The testimony of the four year old child was further proof of his involvement as he accused them of making him sleep naked in between them. Rae’s claim that the mother was aware of this arrangement was denied by her and clearly thrown out by the jury in their unanimous decision.

Howitt and Rae, who both live in Reading, will wait until October when probation and psychiatric reports have been prepared before they are formally sentenced.

This case follows a similar one only two weeks ago when a gay couple from West Yorkshire were imprisoned for the sexual abuse of children that they were fostering.