Peterborough couple’s neighbours “shocked” to learn of horrific child sexual abuse

Lara and Michael Chase

Lara and Michael Chase

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Neighbours of a Peterborough couple convicted of abusing a 13-month old child they were babysitting have spoken about their shock and “disgust”.

Michael and Lara Chase live in a rented £150,000 semi-detached 1960s property in a quiet cul-de-sac in Peterborough, Cambs.

Neighbours said Lara worked at a local chemist shop while Michael is understood to work as a security guard.

Residents on the road are made up mainly of young families and neighbours yesterday (Thursday) spoke of their shock at hearing the news about the couple.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “They seemed a very nice couple. They were very friendly, it’s unbelievable.

“They seemed to have a lot of friends. There was never anything to make me feel that there was any reason to think like that was going on.

“They seemed well liked. They always had people coming round. It just shows you can’t judge any book by its cover.”

Another young mother who used to collect prescriptions from Lara said: “She offered to bring my prescription round when my daughter was born four years ago.

“She always seemed so nice it’s a real shock. They’ve both been keeping a low profile recently but I saw two people in the garage together two weeks ago.”

A woman who lives on the street claims Lara revealed to her last summer that Mick had been arrested by police after she reported him for ‘looking at dirty images on his computer’.

When the news spread around the neighbourhood, the word ‘nonce’ is said to have been sprayed on the couple’s garage.

She said: “She told me in the summer that Mick had been arrested. She said she dobbed him in after she found him looking at dirty images on the computer.

“She was very friendly and warm and people knew her from working at the chemist.

“That is why I find it extremely hard to believe.”

“She said he was going to get sent down and she was going to get rid of him.

“She left him for a while in the summer but she’s been back since.

“We never knew what had happened. Someone wrote ‘nonce’ on their garage and then the whole road found about it.

“I always thought he was a bit slimy but I never knew she was in on it too.”

The couple married in 2014 and it is believed Lara had been married twice before with two children from previous relationships.

Mick is originally from South Africa and has a grown up son who still lives there, according to neighbours.

One resident said Lara and Mick were friends some years ago when she was married to another man, but they became close after her relationship broke down.

She also claimed: “She told everyone she’d shopped him into the police and left him but she was lying.

“She was working in the chemists and telling everyone she’d left him but it was a lie.

“She moved back in there before Christmas. I saw her in the garden a couple of weeks ago.

“She made everyone believe she had nothing to do with it but that’s clearly not the case.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s disgusting. She left him back in the summer but she’s been back since. As far as I know they’re both still living there.

“I thought ‘how can you carry on living under that roof with a man like that after you know what he’s done’.”

More from the trial here...