Mum learns of abuse after daughter tells her 'secret'

A NUMBER of instances of sexual abuse of a little girl over the course of more than a year was uncovered when she told her mum she had a "secret".

The details she revealed were scarce but her mother confronted her then de facto partner, who made full admissions to the disgusting acts and then told the same to police.

The 45-year-old man, who cannot be named to prevent victim identification, pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to five counts of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 12 on unknown dates between October 2016 and June 2018 at two different addresses.

The court heard the girl would have been aged seven and eight at the time of the offences.

Crown prosecutor Farook Anoozer said the abuse escalated over that period from initially getting her to touch him while clothed, before progressing to more indecent sexual attacks against the girl.

Mr Anoozer said the evidence showed a sense of "familiarity" with the child and was a "gross breach of trust" of his partner and stepdaughter.

Although victim impact statements were not read out, Mr Anoozer said the offending had great financial and emotional impact on the family.

The mother had to relocate, find a new job and scaled back her regular working hours to provide more support for her daughter.

It also affected the young girl's ability to learn, as reports from her school showed her struggling in class as a result.

The victim's mother remained at the back of the court during the sentencing.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said the only evidence in the case came from the defendant and although it may have come out further down the track, he had made full admissions once confronted.

The court heard he had lost his job and was suffering from depression since being charged with the offences.

The defendant's new partner was in court to show support and the court heard she had children of her own who were now grown up.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC acknowledged the defendant came forward and revealed his offending when first confronted but said the admissions to police were "self serving" and he had tried to minimise his "abhorrent" behaviour.

Judge Horneman-Wren said the defendant's actions had extensive emotional and social impacts on the girl and her family, with the young girl expected to carry mental scars from the abuse for years to come.

He said her potential had already been hindered as the court heard about her struggles at school.

"The effects are unsurprising, sadly," he said.

"Your offending for fleeting sexual gratification will potentially have lifelong consequences.

"You literally may have changed the child's life for the worst for ever."

For two of the counts, Judge Horneman-Wren  sentenced the man to two-and-a-half years in prison and two years for the other three charges, to be served concurrently.

It will be suspended after he has served eight months behind bars.