Abusive dad jailed over horrific sex abuse

File picture.

File picture.

A 72-year-old British man faces the prospect of dying behind bars after being sentenced to at least nine years' jail over the horrific sexual abuse of his daughter in the 1970s while the family lived in the Illawarra.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, subjected the woman to ongoing sexual abuse from the age of 10, even putting her on the contraceptive pill when she was 13 so she didn't fall pregnant.

She was told not to tell anyone about the abuse or she would never see her family again.

In court on Thursday, Judge Paul Conlon handed the man a maximum jail sentence of 18 years, with a non-parole period of nine years, saying it was entirely possible the man may die behind bars, given his age and significant health problems.

But he said that was not a reason to reduce the sentence, given the gravity of his crimes.

"He exploited this vulnerable young child, his own daughter, in the worst possible way," Judge Conlon said during sentencing proceedings.

"She was but 11 years when he first had ... intercourse with her.

"He was not shocked by his own depravity but instead embarked on a course of persistent sexual abuse.

"It is difficult to comprehend such brutal and degrading treatment by a father towards his young daughter."

The abuse came to light in 1978, prompting the man and his wife to divorce, with documents citing "incest" as the reason for the split.

The mother took her children back to the UK in late 1978, leaving the man in Australia.

It is understood NSW Police did not become involved in the matter until 2010, by which time the man had returned to the UK.

He was extradited from the UK in June last year and charged with five counts of rape and one of buggery.

A psychologist's report presented to the court during the sentencing hearing said the man lacked insight into the gravity of his crimes, at times blaming his daughter for his conduct.

"His account suggests that sexual engagement with a minor was appropriate because of her apparent sexual experience; he views his conduct as protective," the psychologist wrote.

When discussing the charges with the man, the psychologist said he denied the use of the word "rape" to describe his actions: "It's not rape, it's incest and most of the time she consented," the man apparently told the doctor.

He even reported being confused that, even after so much time, his daughter "won't forgive me".

"[The defendant] seems to have very little empathy for his daughter, is engaging in victim blame and he appears to lack an understanding of the effect such abuse may have had on his daughter's well-being," the psychologist said.

Plea to victims: keep fighting for justice

She grew up with a depraved father who degraded and exploited her in the worst possible way.

You could hardly forgive her if she let slip that she wanted to see her dad rot in jail for a very long time.

But for this now 52-year-old woman, Thursday’s court proceedings, in which her father was jailed for 18 years for sexually abusing her, were never about punishment.

‘‘I just wanted validation,’’ she said.

‘‘The sentence was absolutely brilliant yes, but it was never about the sentence for me, it was about validation.’’

The woman said she wanted her story to serve as inspiration for other victims of sexual abuse –  that it was never too late to come forward.

‘‘I thought, ‘One day, someone will hear me’, and they did,’’ she said.

‘‘I hope this helps other victims to believe in themselves.

‘‘It doesn’t matter how long it takes, keep fighting for your justice.

‘‘No-one is above the law, not even your parents.’’

The woman thanked the police and prosecutors for their hard work on the case, saying she was relieved the court process was over.

When asked about her feelings towards her father, the woman said she felt he still didn’t understand the impact of his actions on her and she was glad she had pursued the truth.

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