Devon father jailed for 16 years for abusing adopted daughters

Date: 2013-08-11

Devon father jailed for 16 years for abusing adopted daughters

Sunday, August 11, 2013

AN adoptive father has been jailed for 16 years after he abused two little girls who he had promised to protect.
The wealthy businessman and his wife offered the neglected sisters a chance of an idyllic new life in a Devon village but he betrayed their trust by exploiting their vulnerability.

The girls lived an apparently privileged life in the foothills of Dartmoor, going to good schools and being taken on expensive family holidays.
In reality both were suffering regular abuse and the man they called Daddy was exercising emotional blackmail to ensure their silence because they knew that if they revealed what he was doing it would destroy their new family.

The 46-year-old abused the two girls separately so they had no idea the other was sharing their ordeal and both had to live with the embarrassment and confusion on their own.
The depth of his betrayal was revealed in a victim impact statement from one of the girls which was read by the judge after he was found guilty of rape and other sexual assaults.

The girl wrote: “I remember when I was adopted being told by the social worker: ‘It’s okay, it’s over, you can have the normal happy life that you deserve’.

“When he abused me I remembered those words and wondered if this is what I really deserved. I never realised what he was doing was so wrong until I was about 11 and thought it was not right.”

The extent of the girl’s confusion was clear from their first video taped interviews with the police in which they asked questions like. “What will happen to us? Will we be allowed to go home?’”

The man was jailed for 16 years by Judge Samuel Wiggs at Exeter Crown Court after a jury convicted him unanimously.

The jury was given the chance to go home after delivering the verdicts but all 12 chose to stay for the sentence and some were visibly moved by the judge’s words.

He told the man: “The girl was right. It should have been over for these highly vulnerable children who were just as deserving of a decent life as anyone else.

“They should have had that life when they were taken in by you and your wife, but very quickly you started abusing them.

“You described your own behaviour as despicable. They were very vulnerable and you started abusing them when they were very young.

“You could not have been in a greater position of trust. It was an even greater degree of trust than that of a natural parent because you had been vetted and approved as an adoptive parent. You let your wife down as much as you let the children down.

“It is serious because although you admitted a number of offences, your denials were vehement and inevitable resulted in greater harm to these children, one of whom went back into care when she was 11.

“We all know the effect it has had on them from some of the things they have written and the psychological assessments. There is nothing surprising about that.
“These are extremely grave and troubling offences.”

The man admitted a total of nine sexual assaults on the children from the ages of six to 11, but denied all the more serious allegations against him.

He was convicted of one charge of rape and seven of sexual assaults or inciting sexual activity.

The two girls had to relive their ordeal twice because the first trial was stopped when one of them made fresh allegations while being cross examined which needed to be investigated.

During a week-long trial they gave evidence by video link and the jury watched hours of DVD tapes of their police interviews.

The two girls, now in their teens, were well spoken, polite and smartly dressed as they stuck by their allegations and showed their distress.

Their adoptive mother told the jury how she found it impossible to believe what her husband had done at first but then realised the girls were telling the truth. She is now trying to rebuild the family.

The man said he had done nothing more than touching them inappropriately during normal bathtime and bedtime activities and suggested their troubled backgrounds had led them to embellish their accounts.

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