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Family speak of abuse by former Gloucester church minister in "Victorian nightmare"

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Gloucester Crown Court

Gloucester Crown Court

A FORMER church minister has been convicted of raping his wife and stepdaughter in a "total Victorian nightmare".

The midde-aged man from Gloucester, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a regular churchgoer and had previously been a minister.

During a trial into the abuse of his family, the jury heard he had a "particular understanding of the Scriptures" which led him to offend.

One of his stepchildren told Gloucester Crown Court they were so terrified of him that they were made to hold down the girl while she was beaten.

The man denied 13 charges of sexual and psychological abuse but was found guilty of all but one. The charges covered a 15-year period from March 1995 until January 2010.

During the trial, the man was sometimes seen during adjournments reading aloud from the Bible to his mother.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Ian Fenny said: "He had clear ideas of obedience – that his wife should be obedient to her husband and the children to their father. He was of the view that there was effectively a Biblical precedent to say a wife would always have to submit herself to her husband and if she did not, she committed a sin."

Mr Fenny alleged that as well as inflicting physical punishment on the children and raping one, he would also make them perform menial tasks – such as getting down on hands and knees to clean. The man used to wake one child in the early hours by throwing water on her face.

"Their lives were a total Victorian nightmare," said Mr Fenny. "He wanted everything done his particular way – how the house was kept, how people looked (in particular his partner), how she dressed, what everyone in the family could and couldn't do.

He said the man showed "unacceptable" violence towards the children.

"We are talking of violence by a parent towards a child which goes back to another century, indeed some would say two centuries."

In evidence, the man acknowledged he had puritanical religious and Biblical beliefs but denied all the allegations. He claimed he always treated the family with respect and loved the children and that he made the children do chores as part of everyday family life.

Judge Jamie Tabor remanded him in custody to await sentence on a date to be fixed and warned him to expect a long prison term.