Stepfather jailed for abusing two young sisters

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A cruel stepfather who also sexually abused two young sisters has been sentenced to a total of four years and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

The 60-year-old former army chef, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his former stepdaughters, admitted charges of cruelty by way of assault and ill treatment and indecently assaulting them both.

Downpatrick Crown Court Judge Stephen Fowler QC said the historic abuse took place between 1978 and 1980 when he was aged from 22 to 25 and the two sisters were little more than 10 and 12.

Judge Fowler, sitting in Belfast’s Laganside Courthouse, said that on one occasion he beat the girls after they had stolen a sandwich because they were hungry, and on another made the elder girl sit alone for hours in the kitchen for refusing to eat her food.

The judge said that he also sexually abused the girls, one of them in her bedroom, during which he told her to ‘shut up or she would be smacked’ and that it was their secret. He abused her sister while bathing her.

Judge Fowler said that the impact on them was significant and impinged on their mental well being, leaving them suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

He added both had been vulnerable victims who were not only sexually abused, but also suffered physical abuse.

Ordering that their former stepfather serve two years imprisonment, followed by two on supervised parole, Judge Fowler, who also disqualified him from working with children and vulnerable adults, said had he fully contested the case, the sentence would have been one of five years.