A man who raped his stepdaughter up to three times a week for more than four years from the time she was 11, has been jailed for 16 years 3 months.
The girl – now a teenager – was in court to see the man she called Dad jailed by Christchurch District Court Judge Alistair Garland. He older sister was also in court. The man admitted raping her once.
The judge decided the 49-year-old man must serve at least eight years two months of the sentence, and it is likely he will struggle to get parole after that because he continues to deny the long-term offending against the younger victim.
Defence counsel Serina Bailey said that the man faced a long sentence and her experience of the Parole Board was that it would only consider early release if he admitted the offending and underwent rehabilitation.
The man remained impassive throughout the sentencing while the victims and their mother – the man’s defacto partner from the time her youngest daughter was aged 18 months – sat tearfully in the public seats.
The victims were upset as the facts of the offending were detailed at the sentencing.
The man’s name cannot be published to protect the identity of the victims.
The older sister had not had to give evidence at the three-day trial in May, because the man admitted the charge of raping her as the trial began.
When she was aged 19 they had met and drunk heavily, and after she went to sleep in a spare bedroom she woke up to find the man having sex with her. She told the court she felt “worthless and disgusting” after the incident. The man had convinced her mother she was a liar and turned her against the daughter. She had post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
The other daughter also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was taking anti-depressant medication. She rarely left home and had few friends.
Judge Garland said the offending had caused serious long term harm to both victims, and also to their mother. The mother told the court she hated herself for ever meeting the man and letting him into her children’s lives.
“She says that in hindsight, you were never a dad to her kids. You were just a sexual predator,” the judge told the man.
The offending against the younger girl began when she was 11 or 12 years old when the man was home alone with her. The first time, threw her into her bedroom and told her to “shut up and take your clothes off”.
When she refused, he grabbed her, pulled her clothes off, held her wrists above her head, covered her mouth with his hand to stop her screaming, and raped her. He then continued to offend regularly when they were home alone or when the girl’s mother was sleeping after taking medication.
“Over the next four years you raped her on a regular basis, sometimes up to three times a week,” said the judge.
The last occasion was in late 2010 or early 2011, shortly after the girl had lost her brother to suicide. He had sex with her while she was crying and only stopped when he heard a car in the driveway.
The man was found guilty at trial on two charges of rape, and one representative charge which alleged repeated offending.
Prosecutor Catherine Butchard said the Crown saw the offending as a massive breach of trust. Both victims had been vulnerable. The Crown called for a starting point of 16 to 20 years’ jail for the sentencing, and the judge adopted 17 years before making a reduction for the one guilty plea.
He imposed the minimum non-parole term for denunciation and deterrence and to protect the community. He noted that the man had two previous convictions in 1995 for sexual offending against children.