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A German couple have been sentenced to prison after selling their ten-year-old son to paedophiles for sex on the dark web in what has been described as "the worst case of its kind in German criminal history".

Five other men have also been prosecuted in connection with the abuse.

In a case that horrified Germany, the defendant Javier Gonzalez Diaz was convicted by the regional court in Freiburg of "14 counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of rape and one count of bodily harm while making child pornography", judge Stefan Buergelin said. They saw their sentences trimmed because they helped lead authorities to the other abusers.

The court heard they sold the boy - who is now 10-years-old - on the darknet, a part of the internet that can only be accessed using special software.

The pair and six others were arrested last fall.

The woman, identified as Berrin T, 48, and partner, identified as Christian L., 39, were found guilty of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child pornography.

Lais, 39, had a previous conviction for child abuse, raising questions why he was allowed to live in a home with a child present. It said the mother was aware from the start of the man's pedophile tendencies and previous conviction.

On Monday, a Spanish man was sentenced to 10 years after he paid the couple in order to abuse the child.

In the following months, the court said, the woman organized assaults on a 2-year-old girl she occasionally looked after.

They also admitted they had sexually abused their son, who was nine at the time.

Christian was supposed to be barred from having contact with children and the boy was removed from the couple's custody in March 2017.

The verdict against the mother and stepfather in the case, which police have called one of the most atrocious they have investigated, is expected on Tuesday.