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Life for father who raped daughters

26th Nov 2008 | in Child Protection

The 56-year-old, who was sentenced to 25 life sentences, repeatedly raped his daughters, who between them went through 19 pregnancies, over a period spanning more than quarter of a century.

Judge Alan Goldsack QC ordered the Sheffield man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to serve 25 life sentences that will run concurrently. He said the minimum term the rapist should serve in jail should be 19-and-a-half years.

Sheffield City Council’s Children and Young People’s Specialist Services confirmed a Serious Case Review had been launched.

After the sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court, Chief Superintendent Simon Torr read a statement from the two victims. The statement said: “... this offender has been sentenced to life imprisonment. His detention in prison brings us only the knowledge that he cannot physically touch us again. The suffering he has caused will continue for many years and we must now concentrate our thoughts on finding the strength to rebuild our lives. We do not wish to comment further on the factors of the abuse we suffered and hope that answers will be found during the Serious Case Review.”

In court, Judge Goldsack said: “The phrase ‘it is difficult to imagine a worse case’ is much overused and rarely, if ever, true. I am not going to say no case of rape within a family situation will ever come to light. But I can say that in nearly 40 years of dealing with criminal cases and 14 as a family judge the combination of aggravating circumstances here is the worst I have come across.”

The defendant refused to attend the sentencing hearing, during which the court heard he had fathered five children by his youngest daughter and two by his eldest.

Two of the eldest daughter’s babies died the day they were born, the court heard. Between them his daughters suffered five miscarriages and five terminations and doctors advised them not to have any more children by the man they did not know then to be their father.

The Court heard how the father’s campaign started when the women were aged between eight and 10. The judge was told that both daughters were raped repeatedly during their ordeal which started in 1981. At the start they were attacked every day, whilst for long periods they would be raped two or three times a week. If they refused their father’s request they would be punched, kicked and sometimes held to the flames of a gas fire, burning their eyes and arms.

James Baird, representing the defendant, launched a stinging attack on social services in both Sheffield and Lincolnshire, which was where the defendant fled with his family in the 1990s to avoid detection. Judge Goldsack also supported this view when he sentenced the defendant, adding: “As a result of this case questions will inevitably be asked about what professionals, social and medical workers, have been doing for the last 20 years.”

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