Man jailed for sexually abusing intellectually disabled daughter

The man was sentenced in Hamilton District Court on Thursday (file photo).
STUFF

The man was sentenced in Hamilton District Court on Thursday (file photo).

A man who controlled his daughter's life for 10 years - and got her pregnant at least once - has been sent to prison.

The woman, who has an intellectual impairment, moved to a North Island town to meet her father when she was 18 - and a decade of physical and sexual abuse began.

On one occasion, she was punched and thrown against a wall shortly before her father had intercourse with her.

She rarely did anything by herself and her father - who cannot be named without identifying the daughter - monitored her social media use.

The situation didn't change until she required an abortion in 2016 and she spoke to a counsellor while she was in hospital.

On Thursday, her 56-year-old father appeared in the Hamilton District Court and was sentenced to five years and five months in prison.

The prison term was for seven charges: a representative charge of incest, and six of male assaults female. One of the six assault charges was also representative.

The woman wasn't raised by her father but moved to a new town to meet him in 2005 when she was 18.

She lived with him, her father's wife and another daughter.

Over a decade, the father kept her isolated and often subjected her to violence before sexual intercourse.

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"A child of a parent is entitled to - even in later years - the protection, love, and support of a parent, not physical and sexual abuse," Judge Glen Marshall told the father at his sentencing.

Crown prosecutor Jacinda Foster said her research had not uncovered other incest cases with this level of violence.

"He dominated her life for an extended period.

"There was no kind of loving or supportive or caring nature about this relationship."

The woman is on the borderline of being classed as intellectually disabled and did not have the capacity or support network to rebuff her father or remove herself from the situation, Foster said.

She moved away from him at one point in early 2007, but her father slapped her and then put his hands around her neck before she went, Marshall said.

She went back to living with her father in another town after he told her he'd split up with his wife.

"You promised you wouldn't hurt her again. She believed you."

The pair later moved again.

"She was isolated from friends and other family. She did very little by herself and ... certainly you monitored her social media communications closely."

The father was often violent towards his daughter before intercourse.

He once punched her and threw her against a wall, and on another occasion he elbowed her in the head twice before having intercourse while she was in pain, Marshall said.

The woman had had an abortion in December 2008, although the Crown said it couldn't be proved if her father was also the father of the child.

When she had a second abortion in March 2016, her father was proven to be responsible for the pregnancy.

She spoke to a hospital counsellor and the abuse stopped when she followed that person's advice, Marshall said.

"[The abuse] occurred regularly over a period of 10 years and, as the Crown said, it wasn't some isolated error of judgment," Marshall said.

Defence lawyer Thomas Sutcliffe did not dispute the Crown's suggestion of a starting point of five-and-a-half to six years for the sentence, but asked the judge to take account of the father's age and state of health.

Marshall used a starting point of five years and five months for the sentence on the lead charge of incest, but added another year on the basis of the man's other charges.

However, small credits for the man's lack of other convictions and his guilty plea before trial took the final result back to five years and five months.

He was sentenced to one year in prison on the assault charges, to be served concurrently or at the same time as the longer sentence.

 - Stuff

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