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The mother of the boy, Berrin T., 48, and her partner Christian L., 39, will serve twelve-and-a-half-year and twelve-year prison sentences respectively for selling Berrin's son on the area of the internet that can not be accessed by search engines.

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".

They are accused of having sexually assaulted the boy - who was nine when their trial began in June - as well as pimping him on the so-called darknet for more than two years.

Six other offenders have been handed lengthy prison sentences as part of the case.

BBC reports that the woman, Christian L, 39, was sentenced to 12 years and six months, while her husband, the boy's stepfather, Berrin T, 48, was jailed 12 years.

Prosecutors had demanded a 12-year prison sentence.

During the trial, it emerged that the couple had sexually abused the boy themselves for at least two years.

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The couple were found guilty of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child pornography.

The couple distributed videos of the sexual abuse across the dark net, selling it for large sums of money.

In Tuesday's verdict, the couple were ordered to pay a total of 42,500 euros (£38,000) in compensation to the boy and another victim, a young girl.

Mr Bürgelin then said the abuse continued out of financial incentives.

"A local youth welfare office took custody of the child in March 2017, when it became known that Christian L. - who is subject to a child contact ban - was living in the same house", Deutsche Welle reported.

Local authorities have been accused of failing to protect the boy from his abusive parents, after officials removed him from his home, but returned him back weeks later.