Abused daughter too scared to report 'tyrant' father

A woman whose "tyrant" stepfather allegedly fathered four children by her was "too scared" to tell anyone, a court has heard.

The 60-year-old man was not named on birth certificates and warned the woman she would be jailed if she spoke out.

Judge Jonathan Gibson, sitting at Burnley Crown Court, has ruled the man unfit to plead to charges due to his "deteriorating intellectual capacity".

He told the jury it must decide if the man committed the alleged acts.

'Victim at 14'

The defendant, who was not in court, faces 42 separate counts: 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.

It is alleged the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first raped his step-daughter when she was 15.

The jury was shown a DVD of a police interview given when the alleged rapes were uncovered.

She said sexual touching began when she was aged 14, becoming full sex a year later when she lost her virginity to him.

The woman gave birth to her first child aged 17 and the sex continued several times a week while everyone else in the house slept, the court heard.

She gave birth to her children at home and was not allowed to visit a hospital until she was eight months pregnant, when she would tell doctors she had had a one-night stand.

Asked why the defendant was not named on her four children's birth certificates , she replied: "He said I would end up in prison for falsifying birth certificates."

Asked if she wanted the children she replied: "They didn't ask to be born but I love them."

'Not my choice'

"Did you want these children with him as the biological father?" asked a female officer.

"No, it was not my choice.

"It was not the life I chose but I had to accept it or he'd be very aggressive and scare the daylights out of me."

The court heard the family, which lived for periods in Lancashire and West Yorkshire, eventually included the man, his wife, a mistress and 16 children - 14 were biologically his.

The alleged victim's mother also had three children by the defendant.

Described as a tyrant the court has been told the man controlled his children and partners with verbal, physical and, in some cases, sexual abuse for more than 20 years.

The case continues.

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