Jaycee Dugard laments 'stolen childhood' as her captor is jailed

 

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The Independent US

Jaycee Gugard, the Californian schoolgirl who was kidnapped, raped and held captive for 18 years by a convicted sex offender who fathered two of her children, has told her abductor Philip Garrido that he and his wife, Nancy, "stole" her childhood.

As a court sentenced Garrido to 431 years behind bars following his guilty plea, Ms Dugard's mother, Terry Probyn, read out a victim impact statement in which her daughter, now 31, said she had "hated every second of every day" she had spent with the couple. "I chose not to be here today because I refuse to waste another second of my life in your presence," read a section aimed at Garrido, 60.

"Everything you ever did to me was wrong and I hope that one day you will see that... You stole my life and that of my family." In an apparent reference to the fact that her abductor, a former drug addict who had been convicted of violent rape in the 1970s, had spent years attempting to start his own religion, she added: "There is no God in the universe who would condone your actions."

The sentencing of Philip and Nancy Garrido took place at a court in Placerville, a short distance from the town of Antioch, where the couple kept Dugard throughout the 18 years of her ordeal. For at least four of those years, she was forced to live in a network of tents and sheds in the garden.

Nancy Garrido was sentenced to between 36 years and life after pleading guilty to kidnapping and rape. She is believed to have helped facilitate her husband's abuse, which resulted in the birth of two daughters, who the couple described as their "nieces".

In addition to reading her daughter's testimony, Ms Probyn spoke of her own suffering, after her blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl was snatched off a street near the family's home in South Lake Tahoe.

For years, Jaycee's stepfather, Carl, who witnessed the abduction, had to live with the stigma of being erroneously suspected of murder. He and Terry eventually separated. "I thought I was going insane," said Terry. "My baby was gone. It was you, Nancy Garrido, and it was you, Philip Garrido, that broke my heart. I hate you both."

When Jaycee was a baby, Probyn would calm her down and rock her to sleep by singing You Are My Sunshine, she said. After her kidnapping, she recalled: "I could hear her crying, not with my ears, but with my heart."

During yesterday's sentencing hearing, the Garridos kept their heads down and made no eye contact with anyone else in the courtroom. They both wore orange jumpsuits. The judge, Douglas Phimister, told the duo: "You took a human being and turned them into chattel. You reinvented slavery."

Lawyers for Phililip had attempted to argue that he was "suffering mental health issues" and was "remorseful" for his conduct. Stephen Tapson, an attorney for Ms Garrido, 55, read a statement on her behalf, saying that while "being sorry is not enough," she loved both Ms Dugard and her two children. Regarding her sentence, Nancy Garrido added: "I deserve every moment of it."

Dugard's statement to the court was her first public comment since her release, aside from an interview she granted to People magazine, in which she appeared to be coping remarkably well, given the childhood abduction and the media frenzy surrounding her discovery.

She has recently received a $20m compensation payment from the state of California, whose parole officers failed to notice her when making their regular visits to Garrido's home for over a decade. Later this month, she is scheduled to publish a detailed memoir of her experience.

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