Ex-soldier jailed for 'harrowing' abuse of his own children
A 60-year-old man has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years for what was described as "a harrowing catalogue of physical abuse which makes difficult reading" against his own children.
The judge in the case described as "disturbing" how reports were made to the police and to social workers about the abuse of three young children, but no action was taken at the time.
Judge Philip Babington made the comment at the Crown Court in Londonderry when he jailed the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of child cruelty against his daughter and two sons, guilty to two charges of common assault and guilty to seven charges of forcing his daughter to perform sex acts on him, starting when she was aged six.
He committed the offences in the family's Co Derry home over a 14-year period starting in March 1980.
A prosecution barrister said the abuser, a former British soldier, lined up his children "like mini-soldiers" and beat them with a brass poker, a brush staff and with a belt.
He threatened to kill them if they reported the abuse to the authorities. On one occasion when his primary school daughter tried to fight back, her father pinned her against the living room wall and grabbed her by the neck, forcing her to "slide down the wall like a sack of potatoes", before forcing her to perform a sex act on him.
A victim impact report from one of the boys abused stated: "It was like at times that all of us, the three children, were in the military. Disobedience or defiance was immediately responded to by a beating. I would say that literally we were brought up like slaves."
The abuser's daughter, in her victim impact report, stated: "He ran the house like an army camp and everyone had to do what he said or be beaten. No compassion was ever shown by him, he expected uncompromising obedience with no resistance."
The judge said: "Even more disturbing was the fact that injuries were observed by other adults and reports made to police and social workers but no action was taken."
Judge Babington also placed the man on the sex offenders' register for an indefinite period.