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By Giselle Wakatama

Paedophile who abused own family for three decades gets 36 years' jail

MH was charged in October, 2019, and pleaded guilty to multiple charges. (NSW Police)

A Hunter Valley man who sexually abused his sister, daughter, nieces and two other children has been jailed for a maximum 36 years.

Readers are advised this article contains details many will find confronting.

Newcastle District Court heard the man, known as MH, sexually abused family members and others over a 29-year period.

MH was charged in October 2019 and pleaded guilty to 11 offences, including sexual intercourse with a child under 10, indecently assaulting children under 16 and four counts of maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child.

Other offences, including three charges of aggravated indecent assault, were taken into account upon sentencing.

MH is among the first to be sentenced under amended Crimes Act legislation that means an adult who is guilty of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child faces life in jail.

The court heard MH potentially faced four life sentences under the tweaked rules.

MH was sentenced to 36 years' jail in Newcastle District Court. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)

'Our secret'

In agreed facts tendered in court, MH's offending started in 1990 when he sexually abused his sister.

He was 15 and his sister was nine.

The court heard he tried to reassure his sister by telling her: "It's OK, it's normal for brothers and sisters to love this way, this is our secret."

MH abused his daughter for nine years from when she was four.

Police said he abused other children while showing them a pornographic video on a television.

The pornographic movie he chose replaced a VHS of Winnie the Pooh that the victim and other children had been watching.

"Look at the tele, move up the bed," MH said to one child.

Police said MH told another child victim: "There's nothing to be scared of, I'm not going to hurt you."

And he said to another: "Does it feel good?"

The child replied "No", according to police.

The court heard MH only stopped abusing his niece when she protested.

The court heard the offending did stop after the niece said MH was destroying her life and that someone would eventually catch him.

The police statement also said MH used sex toys on a victim as young as nine and admitted trying to get child victims, including his daughter, drunk.

Ongoing danger

The court heard MH had a challenging upbringing and was allegedly sexually abused as a child.

In a report tendered in court by forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Furst, he diagnosed "paedophilic disorder".

Crown prosecutor Kristy Mulley said that diagnosis meant that MH was an ongoing danger to the community. 

She said even if he had been abused as a child it was not an excuse for his own offending.

She also said MH had written a letter expressing remorse, but that could not be accepted because he did not give sworn evidence.

MH got a 25 per cent sentencing discount for his guilty pleas.

He will be eligible for parole in 2046, when he is 71.

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