A COUPLE have been jailed for cold-heartedly using the woman’s 12-year-old daughter as an unwilling ‘surrogate mother’ because she was unable to have any more children of her own.
In horrific scenes of abuse, the young girl’s step-father raped her three times before their deliberate intention of making her pregnant succeeded, a judge has heard.
The south Warwickshire couple, who are both in their 30s but cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity, had denied charge of conspiracy to rape and child cruelty.
But on the day of their trial at Warwick Crown Court, the step-father pleaded guilty to two charges of raping her – and a plea of guilty by her mother to child cruelty was accepted.
After ruling that the step-father is likely to pose an on-going danger to children, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC jailed him for 18 years as part of an extended prison sentence.
He will have to serve at least 12 years of that term, and even then will only be released when the Parole Board considers it safe to do so, after which he will be on licence for the rest of the period and for a further eight years.
The girl’s mother, who the judge said had ‘actively encouraged her to become pregnant,’ was jailed for six years and three months but, unlike her husband, will not have to register as a sex offender.
Prosecutor Steven Bailey said after separating from her natural father, the girl’s mother began a relationship with the male defendant, who she had initially met online.
Things went well at first, but ‘an unhealthy atmosphere’ developed in their home, with the man mistreating the children in various ways, and their mother taking his side against them.
The woman had been sterilised, but after the couple began their relationship she asked her GP if it could be reversed, and was told it could not.
“That did not please the defendants, so they decided to do the next best thing,” said Mr Bailey.
“With no regard for the feelings of the girl, let alone the baby they were about to force on her, the plan was for him to have sex with her to get her pregnant as a surrogate.
“The girl says her mother told her they wanted her to get pregnant by him, and her mother is on record as describing the pregnancy as a Godsend.”
When, after the third rape, the pregnancy was confirmed by their GP, the mother explained that her daughter had told her she had had sex with a lad during a sleep-over at a friend’s home.
Because of her young age, the question of the 12-year-old having a termination was raised – but ‘both defendants rejected such a notion’ and said they would bring the baby up as their own.
And the truth slowly began to emerge after the girl told a teacher that her step-father had ‘made me do it three times.’
And when her step-father was arrested, his first reaction was to tell officers to ‘look closer to home,’ and that they should arrest her mother as well.
After she was arrested, the mother confirmed that she and her partner were planning to bring up the baby as their own, with her having pretended to be pregnant.
Amy Jackson, for the step-father, said he fully accepted what he had done to the young girl and was sorry, while Nick Devine, for the girl’s mother, said she had only herself to blame for having lost everything in her life.
Jailing the couple, Judge Lockhart described their actions as “wicked”.
He added there were two victims, not just the girl, but her baby who, having been taken into care, has been ‘deprived of the right to be brought up by her own mother,’ and who may later learn she had been conceived ‘by reason of her grandmother’s neglect’ and rape by her mother’s step-father.