U.K. Couple Guilty of Webcam Sex While U.S. Girl Watched

A 44-year-old English mother of two who had sex with her husband in front of a Webcam was told Thursday that she faces jail because a nine-year-old girl was watching on a PC on the other side of the Atlantic.

The case, the first of its kind in a British court, was also the first in which a convicted sex offender had given evidence by video link from a U.S. jail.

Denise and Ronald Edwards had sex in front of the Webcam at their Gloucestershire home while encouraging the girl to perform sex acts on herself and her grandfather as they watched.

The girl had been placed in front of the Webcam by her grandfather, who is now serving an 18-year jail sentence in New York state for sex offenses against her, including rape.

Ronald Edwards, 55, pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and possessing indecent photographs of a child.

His wife denied the same three charges, and claimed that she was not the woman with whom her husband was having sex.

She was convicted of the sex charges by a unanimous verdict of the jury at Gloucester Crown Court but cleared of the charge of possessing indecent photographs.

Judge Martin Picton granted her bail but said that she could still go to jail when she and her husband were sentenced on June 28. She was ordered to sign the sex offenders registry.

The judge told her: "This was very serious offending indeed."

He said that the presentence reports would have to address how much of a danger she posed to children in the future.

The judge formally commended Detective Constable Ian Bennett and Detective Superintendent Steve Vallender, who traveled to upstate New York to work with U.S. police and the FBI investigating the girl's grandfather, James Lindgren, now 57.

Brent Isaacson, an FBI special agent, was also commended by Judge Picton.

During a four-day trial the jury was told that on Aug. 28, 2004, Lindgren and the Edwards had a transatlantic link-up via Webcam during which the girl was seen being abused by Lindgren in his Jamestown, N.Y., home while the Edwards had sex.

From his cell in a New York state prison, Lindgren told the jury that during an Internet chat, Edwards referred to the woman with him as his wife, whom he called Sue.

When police raided the Edwards' home in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, they found explicit pictures of Mrs. Edwards labeled "Sue."

Denise Edwards left court sobbing Thursday.

After the hearing, Superintendent Vallender, of the Child Protection Unit, said: "This is the first case of its kind where offenses have been encouraged by someone in another country via the Internet and it is the first time that a convicted sex offender has given evidence to a British court via a video link. We would like to thank the FBI — from Day 1 we had absolute assistance and cooperation from them."

"The message we would like to send out is that if you think you can get away with this sort of offense because you live in another country, you are wrong," Vallender added. "The British police will do everything they can to secure your conviction."