Jury hears how woman was scared to tell of alleged abuse

A woman whose "tyrant" stepfather, who moved around Lancashire and West Yorkshire with his family and allegedly fathered her efour children in a lengthy campaign of sexual abuse, was "too scared" to tell anyone of her ordeal, a jury has heard.

His name was not on the birth certificate of any of the children and she was warned by him she would go to prison for falsifying details if the reality emerged, Burnley Crown Court was told.

It is alleged the 60-year-old father-of-14, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first raped his step-daughter, who is now 29, when she was 15.

After the birth of her second child, a midwife was so concerned the family was concealing something she wrote to social services.

No official intervention followed from the authorities, and the man's abuse of his step-daughter was allowed to go on "unchecked" until she began to see it as part of normal life, the prosecution says.

The jury viewed a DVD recording of a police interview the woman gave when the alleged rapes were uncovered. She said sexual touching began when she was aged 14 and progressed to full sex a year later when she lost her virginity to him.

Judge Jonathan Gibson told the jury the man has been declared unfit to plead to the various charges he faces due to his "deteriorating intellectual capacity".

The judge said the jury's role in the proceedings was to determine whether the defendant did the acts outlined in the charges.

He faces 42 separate counts, some of which are specimen charges. These are seven counts of rape, six of causing actual bodily harm, 17 of child cruelty, seven of indecent assault, four of false imprisonment and one of damaging property.

The defendant was not in court.