A woman whose “tyrant” stepfather allegedly fathered her four children was “too scared” to tell anyone of her ordeal, a jury has been told.
His name was not on the birth certificate of any of the children and she was warned by him she would go to prison for falsifying details if the reality emerged, Burnley Crown Court was told.
It is alleged the the 60-year-old father of 14, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first raped his step-daughter, who is now 29, when she was 15.
After the birth of her second child, a midwife was so concerned the family was concealing something she wrote to social services.
No official intervention followed and the man’s abuse was allowed to go on “unchecked” until she began to see it as normal, the prosecution says.
Yesterday, the jury viewed a DVD recording of a police interview the woman gave. She said sexual touching began when she was 14 and a year later she lost her virginity to him.
She gave birth to her first child at the age of 17 and he continued to have sex with her in her bedroom several times a week, the jury heard.
She was asked if she wanted the children and replied: “They didn’t ask to be born but I love them.”
“Did you want these children with him as the biological father?” asked a female officer.
“No, it was not my choice,” she said. “It was not the life I chose but I had to accept it or he’d be very aggressive... he’d scare the daylights out of me. It became kind of like a routine, That is the only life I’ve ever known. I was always too scared of him.”
The court heard the family, which moved around but lived for periods in the Burnley area of Lancashire and in West Yorkshire, eventually included the man, his wife, a mistress and 16 children – 14 of them biologically his.
Prosecutors say he controlled the household with verbal, physical and sexual abuse for more than 20 years.
Judge Jonathan Gibson told the jury the man has been declared unfit to plead due to his “deteriorating intellectual capacity”.
The judge said the jury’s role in the proceedings was to determine whether he did the acts outlined.
He faces 42 separate counts, including seven counts of rape, six of actual bodily harm, 17 of child cruelty, seven of indecent assault, four of false imprisonment and one of damaging property.
The defendant was not in court.
She said the man’s wife knew about him sleeping with her but she had “turned a blind eye” and that the rest of the family knew.