A FEMALE paedophile formerly from Appleton has escaped jail after swapping indecent images of children with a man over the internet.

Mum Rachel Sutton, now living in Rochdale, and Peter Lumley, from Cornwall, appeared at Warrington Crown Court on Thursday after being caught with the images on their computers.

During the hearing, Sutton’s ex husband was praised for stopping the pair before they could go any further.

Judge Roger Dutton said: “This was all gradually leading in one direction to some particularly criminal sexual offence and mercifully that has been avoided by proper intervention and the discovery of e-mails that allowed your former husband to do the right thing and bring this to the attention of the authorities.”

Matthew Jones, prosecuting, said the pair exchanged the images over e-mails and Sutton had been caught with 83 images while Lumley had 529 pictures on his computer.

Jason McAdam, defending Sutton, aged 46, said: “There’s more than enough evidence to suggest my client is disgusted with what she has done.

“This is not the sort of case before the court that often and has an on-going effect on all concerned.

“Her whole world has fallen apart in the last few months but it’s difficult to know why she behaved this way.

“Her ex husband attacks Mr Lumley in his letter to the court and says he saw a vulnerable, unhappy woman.

“She went to the police station with a document fully accepting responsibility for what she had done.

“This was a low point in her life but there’s no evidence to suggest she would do it again.”

Lumley, aged 51, had already served the equivalent of a 10 month sentence after being in custody since September last year.

Lisa Judge, defending added Lumley had ‘described himself as despicable’ and he had a ‘dysfunctional existence’ since the age of eight.

The pair were both given three year community orders where they would be supervised closely by probation services.

Lumley will also have to complete the Thames Valley sex offender programme.

Judge Dutton added: “You involved yourself in this disgraceful activity.

“In my opinion without the influence of Lumley it would be most unlikely the female defendant would have got involved in these offences.

“Having said that you Rachel Sutton had your eyes open and you are a mature adult who knew what you were doing and why you were doing it.”