A regular churchgoer who fathered a child with his adoptive daughter likened himself to the biblical figure of Abraham, begetting children into old age.
The baby conceived with the vulnerable woman in December 2011 was found in a neighbour's garden, dead within hours of its birth.
In the High Court at Wellington yesterday, the man, 60, pleaded guilty to three charges of incest. Neither he nor his adopted daughter, now 23, can be identified.
The woman came to New Zealand in 2007 as a 15-year-old, when she was adopted by the man and his wife. Three or four times a week, the family would attend church.
And every few days between September 2010 and June 2012, he would have sex with her, a police summary said.
Also in June 2012, her adoptive mother suspected the woman was pregnant and took her to a medical centre, but the pregnancy was not detected. The newborn's body was discovered in a neighbour's garden in August 2012.
The young mother was originally charged with murder, and later infanticide, but the prosecution ended in March when the acting deputy solicitor-general decided it was not in the public interest to continue the case.
After a hearing last year, Justice Stephen Kos said the circumstances of the case were deeply tragic and the woman did not know she was pregnant until she was in labour. He rejected an application that she was not fit to stand trial.
The father was not charged with any offence involving the baby's death, but he was charged with rape. When he pleaded guilty to the incest charges, the more serious rape allegations were dropped.
At first, he denied the sexual relationship but then told police he had loved her and wanted a child with her. He likened himself to Abraham, who fathered children late in life, according to the Old Testament.
But the man also claimed he was under the influence of the devil when he was having sex with the woman.
The police summary said that, when the woman arrived in New Zealand, she lived in an oppressive environment because of the rules her adoptive parents imposed on her, in stark contrast to other children in the house.
She was given a strict regime for cooking and cleaning, and her adoptive mother assaulted her if she failed to do the work, police said.
While she was attending a tertiary course, friends became concerned at her tearfulness and the bruises and scratches they saw on her. She was invited to live with them but she said no, out of fear of her adoptive mother.
Her adoptive father is on bail pending sentencing next month. The judge said bail was a "real indulgence", since it was almost inevitable the man would be going to prison.
Kos was told that members of the man's family had approached the people the woman now lived with. He said the man had to make clear to his family that they were to stay away.
- The Dominion Post
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