Rapist tucked girl back into bed 'like nothing had happened'
"YOUR crimes are utterly horrendous," an Ipswich judge told a convicted child rapist in the court room.
The judge was addressing a 35-year-old father who for many years escaped punishment for raping his wife's younger sister.
She was only five years old when he began preying on her. He would continue attacking her until she was 14.
The details of his ugly crimes worsened in the Crown case before Ipswich District Court.
A jury had previously found him guilty of raping the girl's older sister, she too becoming his victim from the age of five. Those crimes began when the man was aged 17. He went to trial declaring his innocence.
In August last year, he was sentenced to 10 years' jail for those crimes.
In the latest charges against him, the man (who cannot be named to protect his victims), pleaded guilty to unlawfully maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 between February 2007-2016; and four counts of raping the child.
Crown prosecutor Noel Needham said the offender was aged 23 to 32 during this time.
The families affected by his crimes, including the now-teenage girl, were seated in the courtroom. Along with the man's supportive fiancee.
Mr Needham said the crimes began when the girl visited her brother-in-law's family home for sleepovers. The girl was raped even when sharing a bedroom with the offender's own children. Mr Needham said the victim would feign being asleep and her attacker would remove her clothing, rape her, then put her clothing back on, "tucking her back in to sleep as if nothing had happened".
He said a Serious Violent Offence declaration had already been made against the man.
The Crown sought a jail penalty that was added on to his existing 10-year sentence that ends in July 2028.
Mr Needham said when detectives interviewed the man in late 2016, he admitted making advances toward the child having developed a physical attraction to her, but he denied having any sexual desires.
The victim impact statements of the girl and her mother were both read to the court, with the girl identifying the impact on her schooling and social life.
"My son-in-law tore our family apart," the victim's mother said.
Because of the very young age of the child, the nine years that the offences were happening, the Crown sought an additional six years be added to the man's existing sentence, bringing it to a total head sentence of 16 years.
There had only been a relatively small overlap of the crimes he committed against his wife's two young sisters.
In submission on penalty, defence barrister Nick McGhee sought a 10-year jail term to be served concurrently with the existing jail term.
He outlined the man's "unhappy childhood", and the violence his mother directed toward his father.
Mr McGhee said there were no threats or physical violence committed against the child.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said the vile abuse began when the girl was only five and persisted until she was 14.
"These are acts of great depravity against the innocence of this child," he said.
"It follows upon a sexual relationship you perpetrated upon her older sister.
"You started abusing her too when she was five, and you were 17.
"It was vile depraved conduct over a prolonged time. Your conduct despicable."
Finding his crimes to be utterly horrendous and that a 14-year term was applicable for maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced him to four years' jail.
The four years will be served cumulatively to his 10-year sentence - making it 14 years.
He must serve at least 80% of the sentence before being eligible to begin his application for parole release.
It includes concurrent jail terms of four and three years imposed for the four rape offences.