Family in court over sex abuse claim

PUBLISHED: 12:43 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010

SEVEN members of the same family have gone on trial accused of long term sexual abuse. The main victim alleges she was assaulted by all of them, her younger sister by four of them and two other younger sisters by their father. Prosecutor Isabel Delamere t

SEVEN members of the same family have gone on trial accused of long term sexual abuse.

The main victim alleges she was assaulted by all of them, her younger sister by four of them and two other younger sisters by their father.

Prosecutor Isabel Delamere told the jury: "Within the family it was well known what was happening and was either being actively encouraged or at least condoned. It was simply a way of life."

Those on trial at Luton Crown Court are the girls' father, mother, four brothers and an uncle who is a self-confessed paedophile.

The jury has been told that the father has previously been jailed for indecently assaulting some of his sons. The uncle also has a criminal record for indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl and possessing child pornography.

The seven defendants, all from Letchworth GC, are aged between 22 and 53. They deny a total of 34 charges which include rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, cruelty and intimidation. They began in about 1995 when the main victim was six years old.

Miss Delamere told the jury: "These all arise out of allegations of sexual abuse made by the eldest daughter against her father, mother, uncle and her brothers. Her mother would assist in the abuse.

"She also witnessed the abuse of her sisters and on one occasion her brother was abusing her sister at the same time as another brother was assaulting her and then there was a swap.

"She paints a picture of Saturday mornings when her mother would bring her into her parents' bedroom. Sometimes they would have sex with each other and make her touch both of them. Sometimes her mother would leave her alone in bed with her father knowing full well what was happening. Sometimes these incidents also involved her sister who was five years younger than her."

Miss Delamere said the abuse from the girl's mother and father stopped in 2002 when he was arrested for offences against his sons.

Between 1996 and 2001 she alleges she was raped and indecently assaulted by her uncle, in a loft in his garage, at her home and on a caravan holiday.

She also alleges she was raped by four brothers at various times between 1997 and 2004.

Miss Delamere said: "The father ruled the family with a rod of iron. He was physically violent, almost exclusively to the boys, and created an atmosphere of fear. The mother would show little or no affection to the children who would appear ill-kempt and hungry."

She said when the father was released from prison, social services took action to protect the younger children. The girl began to make allegations to her foster carer in October 2004.

Her father told police the allegations were "absurd" and were being made out of "sour grapes" because she had been taken from them.

Her mother also made denials and said she would have stood by her if she had complained to her.

The uncle told police: "I am a paedophile, I am not going to deny it." He said he liked eight-year-old girls, and would fantasise about the alleged victim when he was having sex with his wife, but denied he had raped the girl.

The brothers denied the allegations. One said he had witnessed his sister being abused by his father and said his mother was oblivious to it or pretended to be.

He claimed his "evil" father had wanted him to have sex with his mother. Another described his father as "low life scum" and his mother about as bad because she did not protect them.

The case continues.

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