A TEENAGER who abused nine toddlers at a nursery is under 24-hour supervision at an isolated location in Somerset.

Nursery apprentice Jayden McCarthy was found guilty of the offences at the end of a trial at Exeter Crown Court.

He was 16 in July 2019 when a three-year-old girl went home and told her mother he had made her take part in a sex act in a toilet area of the nursery in Torbay.

CCTV from the previous ten days revealed he had carried out 13 sexual assaults on seven girls and one boy.

A teenage boy also came forward to police to disclose that McCarthy had raped him repeatedly when he was aged about eight.

Judge David Evans adjourned the case until July 14 for sentence and allowed McCarthy to remain on bail until then.

He is currently in council care and under 24-hour supervision in Somerset and will remain there until sentence.

The judge ordered a psychiatric and pre-sentence reports and told McCarthy to expect a lengthy sentence of youth custody.

The judge told him:”You have been found guilty on the clearest possible evidence of grave sexual offences against young and very young children at a time when you were yourself a youth.

“You face a substantial sentence of custodial detention.

"However, I cannot sentence you now.

"I need to give those affected to record the effect on the children in personal statements which will be before me when I sentence.

“I also need to give the lawyers time to construct submissions about sentence, which they will put into writing.

“Given your age, and the age you were at the time, and the seriousness of the offending and your lack of previous convictions, I am allowing time to arrange a psychiatric assessment by someone with forensic experience and a full pre-sentence report to be prepared by the probation service.

“That will address all relevant matters, including dangerousness.”

The judge told McCarthy he will have to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register immediately and will be prevented from working with children again by the Declaration and Barring Service.

Nick Lewin, defending, said a psychiatric report was essential because McCarthy had himself been the victim of sexual abuse when he was very young.

McCarthy, now 18, of South Devon, denied one count of rape and 13 of sexual assault at the nursery and was found guilty by unanimous verdict of each offence.

He also denied two rapes in relation to the earlier assaults on the eight-year-old boy and was found guilty of those by majority verdicts.

A massive police operation was launched on July 29, 2019 when the three-year-old girl told her mother that ‘Jayden had been naughty’ in a toilet at the nursery.

Officers studied 265 hours of CCTV footage which revealed the other offences, in which he put his hand up the skirts of girl or touched them while pretending to play or apply sun cream.

One clip showed him looking around furtively as he slid his hand inside a little girl’s clothing as she took a nap on a mattress on the floor with other children asleep all around her.

The CCTV footage also showed that he had been alone in the toilet area with the three-year-old for around nine minutes on the day he assaulted her.

Her dress had got drenched while she was in a wet play area and he was ostensibly changing it for a dry one which she kept in her rucksack.

McCarthy was in care and living in a children’s home at the time while also working part time as a waiter at a pub in Kingsteignton.

He had been working at the nursery since March, having passed two interviews and been vetted.

He had received training in safeguarding during his employment.

He denied all the offences and said there was an innocent explanation for all the clips.

The NSPCC praised the courage of the victims and their families.

A NSPCC spokesperson said: “This is an awful case in which a number of very young children, and their families, have been affected and will need support to overcome.

“The bravery and courage shown in giving evidence is truly commendable. It has helped bring this offender to justice and we hope that the conviction gives all those impacted by this abuse some measure of closure.

“The NSPCC’s helpline is available for anyone who has concerns for a child’s welfare. It is available on 0808 800 5000 or at help@nspcc.org.uk. Children and young people can contact Childline at 0800 1111 or via childline.org.uk.”