East Lancashire father-of-14 cleared of raping his step-daughter

A FATHER-of-14 has been cleared of four specimen counts of raping his step-daughter who had four children by him.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, got her pregnant from the age of 16 as prosecutors alleged he forced himself upon her.

But a jury at Burnley Crown Court also heard evidence that the relationship may have been consensual.

Together with their four children, they lived at various addresses in the Burnley area and West Yorkshire along with his wife, his mistress and a large number of his other children The jury was discharged today after failing to reach rulings on three other specimen counts that he raped his step-daughter.

They also could not decide on seven counts of indecent assault against the woman.

Before the trial started, Judge Jonathan Gibson told the jury the man had been declared unfit to plead to the various charges he faced due to his "deteriorating intellectual capacity".

He said the jury's role in the proceedings was to determine whether the defendant did the acts outlined in the charges said to have taken place between 1988 and last year The jury did find though he committed 15 counts of child cruelty, four counts of causing actual bodily harm, three counts of false imprisonment and one count of damaging property.

He was found not guilty of two counts of causing actual bodily harm, one count of false imprisonment and two counts of child cruelty.

All the non-sexual counts related to him controlling his children and his partners with verbal and physical abuse.

He was arrested after his stepdaughter called police when he made her strip and began cutting up her clothes with a kitchen knife because she refused to do as she was told.

The defendant was not in court at any stage.

In his police interviews the defendant had denied all the historic allegations.

The case was adjourned until next Wednesday for the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether it wishes to seek a retrial on the outstanding counts.

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