Couple face sexual abuse charges

A PORTBURY man accused of subjecting his young stepdaughter to nine years of sexual abuse, some of it violent, has appeared in court alongside the girl’s mother.

On Monday, the 65-year-old, who is charged with committing 19 offences between 1978 and 1987, appeared at Bristol Crown Court, with his wife, who faces charges of cruelty, assault and ill-treatment.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, is also charged with acts of gross indecency and indecent assaults on three other girls under the age of 16.

The couple first appeared in court to face the charges in May last year and Monday’s hearing saw the start of their trial.

Fiona Elder, prosecuting, said the man married his wife when her daughter was three years old and she was brought up in ‘a highly sexualised environment’.

She said: “The girl’s friends from her junior and senior schools, and other people who called at the house during that time, would regularly be faced with the defendant standing there naked and his wife wearing a short skirt, with no pants underneath.

“There were also naked photos of the wife and pornographic magazines left lying around.”

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Miss Elder told the court the girl was ‘treated like a slave’, and held down by her mother while her stepfather repeatedly whipped her with a stick he had ‘whittled especially for the purpose’.

The court heard the alleged sexual abuse started when she was about eight when she came out of the bathroom dressed in a towel and her stepfather touched her intimately. The abuse is said to have escalated when she was nine or ten when she cuddled his legs during a smacking incident and began to cry.

Miss Elder said: “She asked him not to do it to her and asked him to be her dad.

“He then undid his trousers and exposed himself and said ‘we can do this instead’.”

The court heard he allegedly forced her to perform a sexual act on him and it became ‘a regular event’.

Miss Elder said when the girl confronted her stepfather as an adult about the alleged abuse he said ‘I thought you liked it’ and ‘I was teaching you’.

She added the girl did not complain about alleged abuse earlier because it had her mother’s acknowledgement and she felt her mother would not protect her.

The court also heard one of the girl’s friends, who was about nine years old, caught the stepfather performing a sexual act on himself in his garage and was asked to join in. Another woman, who was aged about 15 at the time, claims she was touched intimately by the man when she helped him renovate the house. It is also claimed he had a sexual relationship with a neighbour who was 16 at the time.

Both defendants deny all charges and their trial is expected to last two weeks.