A couple who used the woman’s 12-year-old daughter as an unwilling “surrogate mother” because she was unable to have any more children of her own have been jailed . The schoolgirl was raped three times by her stepfather – and the resulting pregnancy was described as a “Godsend” by the victim’s mother, Warwick Crown Court heard.
The couple, who are both in their 30s from Warwickshire but cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity, had denied charges of conspiracy to rape and child cruelty. But on the day of their trial, the stepfather admitted two charges of rape and the mother’s plea of guilty to a charge of child cruelty was accepted.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ruled the stepfather posed an ongoing danger to children and jailed him for 18 years as part of an extended prison sentence. He will serve at least 12 years and, even then, will only be released when the Parole Board considers it safe to do so. He will be on licence for the rest of the period and for a further eight years.
The girl’s mother said by the judge to have “actively encouraged her to become pregnant” was jailed for six years and three months.
But, unlike her husband, she will not have to register as a sex offender.
Steven Bailey, prosecuting, said the couple met online and an “unhealthy atmosphere” developed in their home.
The mother had been sterilised and was told by her GP that it could not be reversed.
Mr Bailey said they “decided to do the next best thing”.
He went on: “With no regard for the feelings of the girl, let alone the baby they were about to force on her, the plan was for him to have sex with her to get her pregnant as a surrogate.
“The girl says her mother told her they wanted her to get pregnant by him, and her mother is on record as describing the pregnancy as a Godsend.”
Mr Bailey said that, because of her pleas, he could not say the mother was party to the rapes, “but she sought to take advantage of it for her own ends”.
She claimed her daughter had sex with a boy during a sleepover when the pregnancy was confirmed by a doctor.
And the couple rejected any question of the girl having a termination, saying they would raise the baby as their own.
But the truth began to emerge when the schoolgirl confided in a teacher, the court heard.
The mother was arrested and told police she and her partner planned to bring up the baby as their own, with her having pretended to be pregnant.
She initially said she did not know who the father was, but then claimed it was her partner’s idea to use the girl as a surrogate and that she had told him to leave her alone.
But the victim told a teacher that her mother had “sacrificed” her for the chance of a baby, adding: “She made me do it.
“He raped me, but she asked me to do it, my own mum.”
The schoolgirl later gave birth to a baby, which was taken into care, the court heard.
Amy Jackson, for the step-father, said: “He fully accepts what he did to this young girl.
“He says he’s sorry for what happened, and that they should not have put her through it.
“This is a grave and unusual case.
“It is born of a selfish wish by these defendants to have a child, and the use of a child to achieve those desires.”
ailing the couple, Judge Lockhart said: “It is the responsibility of those with the gift of children to look after them and prepare them for life with love and kindness.
“Great trust is placed in the hands of those who are parents; and when that trust is broken, great damage is done to the child and to society.