Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 13:35 UK

Three jailed in family rape case

Silhoutted images of the defendants
The identities of the three family members cannot be revealed to protect the victim's identity

Three men have been given long jail terms for raping a member of their own family as she grew up.

Cardiff Crown Court had heard that the woman was abused from the age of five to 22, and she became pregnant at 14.

A step-uncle, 55, and stepfather were jailed indeterminately, with terms recommended of 20 and 15 years. Her brother-in-law was jailed for 12 years.

The judge said she had been treated like an "unpaid and unwilling prostitute".

"Mum didn't believe me - she hit me with a rod and stuff like that"

None can be publicly named to protect the victim's identity.

The step-uncle was convicted of seven counts of rape, three of indecency with a child, and one of indecent assault.

The stepfather and the brother-in-law, 27, were each convicted of three rapes.

The court was told that both the step-uncle and stepfather are illegal immigrants, who will be deported after they have served their sentences.

Judge Patrick Curran told her step-uncle: "Not content with your own sexual abuse on her, you encouraged the others to treat her like an unpaid and unwilling prostitute.

The judge said she had been treated like an "unpaid and unwilling prostitute".

"You all then involved yourselves in a group rape on her."

The judge added that the continued presence of the two older men in the UK was "detrimental to the public interest."

During the trial, the court was told that when the woman became pregnant at 14 she was hidden away, sometimes in a wardrobe.

The jury heard that the woman allegedly told her mother that her step-uncle was the father, but was not believed.

Prosecutor Marion Lewis had told the court last month that the first time the victim saw a doctor, she was seven months pregnant.

Det Insp Chris Mullane, South Wales Police
Det Insp Chris Mullane, South Wales Police
It's the result of a lot of hard work by the investigating officers and the victim being extremely brave coming forward and reliving these events.

Traumatic events like these tend to stay fresh in people's minds. It's been very, very difficult but I think the case has given her a certain amount of closure because [the events] have been so traumatic.

My message is you should not hold onto something like this. If something terrible like this has happened to you, you should come forward and it will be investigated as robustly as this has.

"When the baby was born the girl's parents told friends and neighbours it was their own, before flying their daughter to India for an arranged marriage," she said.

The step-uncle agreed in court he was the father of her child, but told the jury he had not found out until much later once DNA tests were carried out.

Miss Lewis said the girl went to police last year and told officers she had been repeatedly abused from the age of five.

The three men, all from Cardiff, had denied the charges but were found guilty of rape and indecency after a trial.

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