Man and former wife abused their children, court hears

A separated couple have been convicted of sexually and physically abusing their children.

The man and his former wife were convicted of sexual and physical assaults on children in the Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly areas but cleared of rape. A second man was acquitted.

The abuse, which "truly shocked" investigators, began in the 1990s and lasted until the man's arrest in 2013.

Neither the defendants nor victims can be named for legal reasons.

Cardiff Crown Court heard children, both the couple's own and ones in their care, were indecently and sexually assaulted by the man and both he and his former wife took part in sexual activity in front of them and made a child carry out sex acts.

The man also struck his daughters, causing them injuries on a number of occasions.

The case centred around the man, who is the father, step-father or grandfather of many of the victims.

At-risk register

Following a trial, which began in June, the second man in the dock was cleared of a single charge of being involved in one indecent assault and the man and woman were cleared of rape and other charges.

The couple have been ordered to sign the sex offenders' register ahead of sentencing.

One victim, now an adult, has carried out serious sexual abuse of children and is serving a lengthy prison sentence.

When he confessed, he told police about the actions of his father and his former wife, prompting the launch of Operation Swan by Gwent Police which investigated the historical allegations.

In the late 1990s, there was a police investigation into allegations made by the boy, but no charges were brought.

'Truly shocked'

The children were also known to social services, were on the at risk register and visited once a week by social workers in the 1990s for a number of reasons.

At that time no accusations of child sex abuse were taken forward to a criminal prosecution.

Det Sgt Peter Williams said: "This was a particularly disturbing case in which children were abused over a long period of time.

"Our investigation started in March 2013 and in the last 16 months, more than 30 police officers and staff have worked on the case, some of whom have been truly shocked at the gravity of the crimes committed."

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