Father gets life term for raping baby daughter: Judge condemns 'depraved and dreadful offences' that followed 12-hour drinking binge

A DRUNKEN father who raped and sexually abused his 13-month- old daughter in a three-hour ordeal was yesterday jailed for life.

The 30-year-old man was convicted of rape, grievous bodily harm and another serious sexual offence at Exeter Crown Court in January.

A consultant paediatrician, Dr Richard Orme, had told the trial that the baby's injuries were the worst he had seen in 30 years. Two assaults of 'considerable force' must have been necessary to cause the injuries, he said.

Judge Graham Neville told the father as he sentenced him: 'The simple fact that anyone could be so depraved as to commit these offences reveals you are a danger to the public, especially to small children, and will remain one for a considerable time to come.'

The judge said the man should serve at least 10 years before being allowed to apply for parole and told him: 'There is no report of any man having committed such dreadful offences as these.'

The girl's physical injuries had cleared up but a report by a child psychologist was 'very worrying', the judge went on. Her exposure to violence and sexuality was something that would never be erased. The early experience would affect every aspect of her life, even if she was treated with love and care by foster parents.

There were shouts of 'scumbag' from the public gallery as the man was led away.

Richard Merrett, for the defence, said the offences filled everyone with revulsion. The defendant had been bottling up his feelings about what he had done. He was now living in 'segregation upon segregation' and would be for a long time.

The father carried out the attack when he barricaded himself in his home after a 12-hour drinking binge.

The court was told that he drank a cocktail of cider, home-made lager and stout, vodka and sherry, and was found unconscious on the bed.

The man's wife, who was out with their other young child when the offences took place last summer, had told the trial her husband had been drinking throughout the night.

The defendant, who did not give evidence, told police he was not responsible for the injuries and said the child must have strained herself when going to the lavatory.

After the hearing, the victim's grandfather said: 'I do not think justice has been done. Life should mean life. He should have got at least 30 years. He is scum as far as I am concerned. He is dead meat if he ever comes back here.'

After the last hearing Devon's director of social services, Andrew Williamson, said there had been no suspicions or fears of child abuse.

Neither of the man's children had been on the county's child protection register, and they had not been an active social services case.

A Devon County Council spokesman said that after the attack on the baby, the children were removed to a safe environment.

They were currently subject to care orders and living with foster parents, he added.