Page last updated at 02:25 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Review to examine daughter rapes

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg: 'He appeared to have done it by moving from place to place'

An independent review is to investigate the contact agencies had with the victims of a man who raped his two daughters over a period of years.

The 56-year-old, from Sheffield, fathered nine children by the two women who went through 19 pregnancies.

The man, who admitted 25 rapes, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 19-and-a-half years.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the abuse started when the women were pre-pubescent.

They were badly beaten if they failed to comply.

Judge Alan Goldsack QC said the combination of aggravating circumstances was the worst he had come across in nearly 40 years of dealing with criminal cases and 14 as a family judge.

Passing sentence, he said: "I have little doubt that many members of the public hearing the facts of this case will consider either you should never be released from prison or only when you are old and infirm. I agree with that view.

Questions will inevitably be asked about what professionals, social and medical workers have been doing for the last 20 years
Judge Alan Goldsack QC

"A criminal justice system which does not reflect the views of the silent majority of the public does not deserve to have its confidence.

"For centuries the maximum sentence available for rape has been life imprisonment. That is the sentence I pass."

The court heard that none of the doctors, nurses or social workers the victims saw looked into why they kept getting pregnant.

The judge told the court: "As a result of this case questions will inevitably be asked about what professionals, social and medical workers have been doing for the last 20 years."

James Baird, representing the defendant, criticised social services in both Sheffield and Lincolnshire, where the family had lived.

'Continued' suffering

He said: "It is my submission that despite these circumstances and real suspicion, nothing was done by Lincolnshire social services or Sheffield social services about how any woman could endure these pregnancies.

"What is clear from the case is that the complainants and the children have attended many, many hospital appointments, but none of the medical experts have sought to probe these circumstances, and accepted the complainants' case that the father of their children was not their father."

Outside court, Jayne Ludlam, director of young people's services at Sheffield City Council, confirmed a Serious Case Review had been launched, to be led by former civil servant Professor Pat Cantrill.

Ms Ludlam said: "Due to the seriousness of this case an independent review has already been launched which will look into the circumstances surrounding the case and the contact the agencies had with the victims."

After sentencing, the two victims said in a statement - read by Chief Supt Simon Torr of South Yorkshire Police - that their suffering would "continue for many years".

They said they "hope that answers will be found" during the review.

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