A British man was jailed Tuesday for raping two of his daughters and fathering nine children over 27 years, a case with echoes of Austria's Josef Fritzl.
The two daughters were made pregnant 19 times; there were nine births, five miscarriages and five terminations. Seven of the children are alive but suffer genetic deformities.
The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons banning the identification of his victims and the surviving children, pleaded guilty Tuesday at Sheffield Crown Court, northern England, and was sentenced to serve 25 life sentences to run concurrently.
The judge said the minimum term the 56-year-old rapist should serve in jail should be 19½ years.
South Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Simon Torr said, "The victims of these terrible crimes have asked me to state the following: 'His detention in prison brings us only the knowledge that he cannot physically touch us again. The suffering he has caused will continue for many years, and we must now concentrate our thoughts on finding the strength to rebuild our lives.' "
Speaking for the police, Torr added, "The main concern ... is for those who have been so badly affected: the victims who have suffered a terrible ordeal. We will continue to offer them our full support to try and help them get on with their lives.
"As far as the sentence goes, we are satisfied that this offender has received the strongest possible punishment for his heinous crimes. Now we need to ensure continuing support for those who have suffered as a result of his actions."
The daughters first told police about their ordeal in June, but the abuse dated to 1981.
It emerged that in 1998 one daughter rang Childline, a charity to help abused kids, and asked for assurances about being able to keep her children if she came forward. When Childline could not make that guarantee, the daughter did nothing more to raise her plight. Video Watch how the case came to light »
The UK's Press Association reported that the rapes began in 1981 with daily attacks and that for long periods, they would be raped up to three times a week, and the assaults would continue through pregnancies. Their only reprieve came after they had just given birth or when they were ill because of the abuse.
If either daughter tried to refuse their father's attacks, they would be punched, kicked and or held to the flames of a gas fire, burning their eyes and arms, PA reported.
Despite visiting hospitals and meeting with social workers over the 27 years of abuse, no investigation was launched into the family.
The case comes in the wake of the death of a baby, known only as Baby P, which has dominated headlines in Britain. The baby endured horrendous torture and died despite being on the local authority's child protection register.
In Austria this year, Josef Fritzl was arrested, accused of keeping his daughter in a basement dungeon and fathering seven children through the rapes.