Bendigo father jailed for incest

A paedophile father stole his daughter’s innocence and turned her into a terrified young woman, a court has heard.

The Bendigo man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, was convicted of four counts of incest in the Melbourne County Court yesterday and sentenced to nine years’ jail.

He was also convicted of 11 counts of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.

This was the third time the matter had gone to court.

Two trials in Bendigo in May and August 2011 resulted in hung juries.

But after the latest 13-day hearing, which started on June 4, the jury returned verdicts of guilty on all but one of the charges.

On this second retrial, presiding judge Tony Howard said the Crown case was stronger as there was additional evidence.

The man was convicted of the sexual abuse of his daughter between 2004 and 2007 when she was aged nine to 12. The court heard the man had separated from his partner when the girl was six months old and the abuse occurred when the girl was on overnight access visits.

A victim impact statement from the daughter described how she felt “gross, dirty and disgusting” as a result of her father’s conduct.

“Tragically, she believed that what had happened was in some way her fault,” Mr Howard said.

“Sadly, she said, ‘I ask myself every day, why me? What did I do to deserve being treated like this? What did I do to deserve to lose a father?’ There have also been consequential difficulties with your daughter’s schooling and academic performance. She was bullied by other students when they discovered what had happened.

“It was so intolerable she had to leave home and move to another regional centre.”

Mr Howard said the victim had been incredibly brave in reading her statement to the court.

“Yours is a serious example of sexual abuse by a father against his daughter. Your moral culpability is high indeed,” he said. “Your vile conduct was repeated over a very lengthy period of time and it involved four instances of sexual penetration.

“You insisted she do things she did not want to do and you manipulated her to satisfy your base sexual urges and to exercise power over her. Whilst you are not to be punished for contesting the allegations, you have shown no remorse whatsoever.”

Mr Howard said the man had a history of sexual assault, abusing his former partner’s sisters (and daughter’s aunties) in 1994 and 1995 when they were children aged 9 and 12. In 2004 he also committed an indecent assault on an adult female, for which he received a community-based order in 2006.

“I remain guarded as to your prospects of rehabilitation, which could not be considered to be good,” he said.

Mr Howard sentenced the man as a serious sexual offender on all counts.

The total effective sentence was nine years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of six. The man was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.

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