A ‘tyrant’ stepfather allegedly fathered his step-daughter’s four children during a period of sexual abuse lasting more than a decade, a jury heard today.
It is alleged the 60-year-old father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first raped his step-daughter, who is now 29, when she was 15.
His name was not on the birth certificate of any of the children and she was allegedly warned by him she would go to prison for falsifying details if the reality emerged, Burnley Crown Court was told.
No official intervention followed from the authorities, and the man’s abuse of his step-daughter was allowed to go on ‘unchecked’ until she began to see it as part of normal life, the prosecution says.
Today the jury viewed a DVD recording of a police interview the woman gave when the alleged rapes were uncovered.
She said sexual touching began when she was aged 14 and progressed to full sex a year later when she lost her virginity to him.
‘It was not my choice’
She gave birth to her first child at the age of 16 and he continued to have sex with her in her bedroom several times a week while everyone else in the house was asleep, the jury heard.
She was asked if she wanted the children and replied: ‘They didn’t ask to be born but I love them.’
‘Did you want these children with him as the biological father?’ asked a female officer.
‘No, it was not my choice,’ she said. ‘It was not the life I chose but I had to accept it or he’d be very aggressive…he’d scare the daylights out of me.
‘It became kind of like a routine, That is the only life I’ve ever known.
‘I was always too scared of him.
‘I was always scared of being on my own, I had nowhere to go, I had no money or nothing.’
She was asked : ‘You scared of him (now)?’
The woman replied: ‘Very scared. He’s controlling, very very controlling.’
The court heard the family moved around but lived for periods in Lancashire and in West Yorkshire.
The alleged victim’s mother had started a relationship with the defendant and had three children by him.
‘Controlled his children with verbal, physical and sometimes sexual abuse’
Prosecutors have described how the man controlled his children and his partners with verbal, physical and, in some cases, sexual abuse for more than 20 years.
Judge Jonathan Gibson told the jury the man has been declared unfit to plead to the various charges he faces due to his ‘deteriorating intellectual capacity’.
The judge said the jury’s role in the proceedings was to determine whether the defendant did the acts outlined in the charges.
He faces 42 separate counts, some of which are specimen charges.
These are seven counts of rape, six of causing actual bodily harm, 17 of child cruelty, seven of indecent assault, four of false imprisonment and one of damaging property.
The defendant was not in court.
Prosecutor Louise Whaites said the man was arrested after his stepdaughter called police to the house after he made her strip and began cutting up her clothes with a kitchen knife.
During the police interview the stepdaughter said she gave birth to her children at home and was not allowed to go to hospital until she was eight months pregnant, when she would tell doctors she had had a one-night stand.
She said the man’s wife knew about him sleeping with her but she had ‘turned a blind eye’ and that the rest of the family knew. She was asked why the defendant’s name was not on the birth certificates as the father of her four children.
‘He said I’d get in a lot of trouble and end up inside,’ she replied.
‘He said I would end up in prison for falsifying birth certificates.’
‘Kids mean the world to me’
In a second police interview in the summer of 2011, she said she ‘never really had a childhood’.
‘I never really had a teenage life,’ she continued.
‘I was never allowed to go out like normal teenagers do with friends or anything.
‘I was stuck at home cleaning up. Helping with cleaning and everything, not really allowed to do much.’
She recalled what she said was the defendant’s favourite saying – ‘I’ll always win out, you’ll never win me’.
Becoming distressed and tearful, she said: ‘I just want to bury it all and forget it now.’
After composing herself, she added: ‘He used to say I was a bad mum and I do nothing for them.
‘Trouble is, I was always too scared to do anything for them because he kept putting me straight down.
‘That is why I never got too close to the kids all the years.
‘I was too scared to. He always had me doubting whether I could manage on my own with four kids and now I am.’
The interviewing officer comments: ‘Absolutely. Not just managing, you’re managing brilliantly.’
The woman replied: ‘Kids mean the world to me. I love them to bits.
‘I know it weren’t exactly right how they were made but I won’t take it out on them.
‘They’re everything to me.’