Justice statue
David and Pauline Williams have been found guilty of sexually abusing 10 children over 15 yearsReuters

A couple who were friends with notorious serial killers Fred and Rose West have been found guilty of sexually abusing 10 children over a 15 year period. David and Pauline Williams were tried at Exeter crown court and are due to be sentenced in November.

During the six-week trial, the court heard how Williams, 56, and his wife, 52, subjected the children to horrific abuse including rape, sexual assault and beatings. Six girls and four boys were abused, with Williams telling some he was "possessed by the Devil" and terrifying them with tales of the couple's connections to the Wests.

Pauline Williams encouraged her husband to carry out the abuse, and also carried out sexual assaults on some of the children herself. Jurors heard how the couple, from Bradninch, Devon, befriended the Wests when they ran the Prince Albert pub in Gloucester during the 1980s and 1990s.

The couple continued to abuse children after leaving Gloucester and running pubs in Tiverton, Devon and Exeter. They denied a total of 46 charges of sexual and physical abuse which took place between 1989 and 2004.

David Williams was found guilty of 10 rapes, 13 indecent assaults, five counts of gross indecency, two of cruelty, and one of sexual activity with a child. Pauline Williams was found guilty of two rapes and five indecent assaults. They were found not guilty of eight other allegations involving two other complainants.

Speaking of their connection to the Wests, who murdered at least 12 young women and girls, Williams told the jury: "Fred had a drink in our pub before he became infamous and so did his wife Rose. From what I remember he was a very friendly quiet man who would sit at a corner table and have a drink...I did not threaten anyone by telling them about the Wests. Absolutely not. There was nothing frightening about my conversations about them."

Judge Erik Salomonsen told the couple they should expect to receive lengthy jail terms. "You have been convicted of appalling behaviour that you meted to these children over a long period of time. This is very serious sexual offending which has damaged the lives of the children," he said. "You have been convicted on overwhelming evidence of a campaign of abuse simply for your own sexual satisfaction."