15yrs of torture & rape: Australian parents jailed for viciously abusing own daughter
The court was told the father repeatedly raped and used a number of sharp gardening tools to torture the girl in a vicious 15-year campaign of abuse that started when she was five years old. He also held the girl’s head under water in a creek, wrapped her in barbed wire and threatened her with a chainsaw and a machete.
“If you ever tell anyone about anything that goes on here, I’ll kill you. It’s no one else’s business,” the father told the girl, as reported by the Australian newspaper.
The father, whose identity was not revealed, is a former elite athlete, who abandoned his professional career to train the girl and her two older sisters, who all showed high athletic potential, at an elite level.
However, even though the youngest daughter showed progress in training, he tied her up in a shed or in a plastic box in the family’s rural property for up to three days and sexually assaulted her.
On other occasions, the couple jointly committed sexual assaults on the girl. The mother, who is also an accomplished athlete and a schoolteacher, also began teaching the girl how to sexually arouse her father from the age of eight, AP reports.
“She breached the trust her daughter held in her in the gravest way,” Sydney District Court Judge Sarah Huggett, who handed down the sentence to the couple, said as cited by the ABC.
“[She] intentionally manipulated her daughter’s moral and emotional development … in circumstances where she should have protected her daughter,” the judge added.
The case first drew attention of the Australian authorities in 2011, when the victim was admitted to a psychiatric ward. The judge said that the victim suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder as a result of the abuse.
“The lack of protection care and comfort from either of her parents led to disassociation as a primary survival strategy,” a psychologist told the court.
At the same time, the local community was “hoodwinked” into trusting the parents, the judge said. The couple was arrested in 2013.
The father, 59, was sentenced to 48 years in jail after being found guilty of 73 offences, including rape and torture. He will be eligible for parole only after serving 36 years, in 2049. Huggett admitted she had effectively given him a life sentence and he will probably die in prison.
At the same time, the judge stressed that the father “completely disregarded and exploited his youngest daughter’s vulnerability” and described him as a “completely depraved and sadistic” person. She also called the crimes “atrocious in the extreme.”
The mother, 51, was jailed for 16 years after being convicted of 13 offences, including not only abusing her youngest daughter, but also committing two assaults against the girl’s two older sisters. She will be eligible for parole in 11 years’ time, in 2027.
The parents showed no remorse and denied all the charges. The victim, who is now 24, said that she “will be forever damaged by the torture and inhuman treatment [she] has suffered.”
“I hope to have a moment in my life where I do not suffer from the trauma of the abuse,” she added.