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Sex abuse father cannot be jailed due to dementia
10:58am Wednesday 19th September 2012 in News
TWO sisters who were sexually and physically abused by their father say they wish he was dead.
Heather West and Christina Western were assaulted and abused as children.
They have waived their anonymity to tell how the violent episodes wrecked their lives.
The sisters are angry that Gerald Longman, 78, of Manor Fields, Bridport , escaped punishment.
They are also taking legal action against him in an attempt to force him to pay compensation, which could total over £100,000.
A judge said as the law stands he is unable to punish Longman for his sick crimes dating from over 50 years ago.
Longman was given an absolute discharge at Taunton Crown Court as he had been deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia.
Even though Longman was declared ‘unfit to stand trial’ due to his dementia, a jury listened to the facts and ruled he had committed the crimes.
They deemed him guilty of four indecent assaults, two rapes and inciting a girl under 14 to carry out an indecent act.
Judge Graham Hume Jones said his hands were tied and that he was unable to impose a tougher sentence The judge said: “It’s most unfortunate there’s nothing I can do in the circumstances.
“I have no doubt that all those who are listening to this case will keep a very close eye on the defendant in the future.”
Addressing Longman’s sobbing victims in the public gallery, he added: “I’m very sorry at the way this case has happened and ended.
“I hope at least it brings you some closure to help you with the rest of your lives.”
A probation report said Longman was judged to be a low risk of reoffending because of his age and mental condition.
But his victims have voiced concerns about his access to children and future behaviour.
Heather said: “Your dad’s the person you’re supposed to look up to and trust, to guide you through life, but mine’s a violent, evil, twisted dirty old man.
“I hate him.
“I was two when it started and remember crying when he abused me.
“He said he hated me and I had the buckle end of the belt and the slipper.
“I used to feel the fear go through me when he came home.
“We wish he was dead.”
Christina was first abused at five years old after Longman ordered her upstairs.
“When I cried, he rubbed some cream in and carried on,” she said.
“He always told me if I said anything mum would die.
“I grew up believing I was on this planet to please men.
“Your dad’s supposed to be a role model.”
Both women have had four marriages – Heather, 55, of Wordsworth Drive, Taunton, is currently divorcing again.
They struggled in school, with Christina, 46, of Normandy Drive, unable to read and write until recently.
Heather said: “I’m insecure and don’t trust men.”
The sisters say they will support victims of abuse who want to contact the police.
Based on their knowledge of their father’s health, they are sceptical of claims by Longman, who committed his crimes when the family lived in Wellington, Somerset, that he was so affected by dementia that he was unfit to stand trial and therefore may avoid prison.