A man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s has denounced her for conceiving her daughter. Carvel Bennett, 74, was convicted of arbitration in a court in Birmingham, England, and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Her daughter, who was adopted as a child, campaigned for justice after discovering details of her fertilization from birth records when she was 18 years old.
Police launched an investigation after the BBC announced the case in 2019.
The daughter provided DNA, and the results of the analysis show that the defendant is 22 million times more likely to be her father than the unknown African-Caribbean men.
In Birmingham, it took less than two hours for the arbitral tribunal to reach a unanimous verdict that Bennett was guilty. The daughter said he had escaped justice for a long time.
Bennett’s daughter’s mother was 13 in court when the man told her to take off her clothes and go to bed when she was alone in a room.
She said she was a scared child and told him, “I don’t want you to do this.” But he replied, “Don’t say anything.”
“I did as he said.” “I could not fight him. He told me to be quiet.”
Bennett did not deny having sex with the victim, but said he thought he was 16 and he agreed. She vehemently denied it.
‘Under the Carpet’
The victim initially did not tell anyone she was pregnant, but later told parents and social workers who the father was and that he had raped her.
She said it was “placed under the carpet by adults” and she blamed herself for many years.
Social service records at the time show Bennett as his father, with his age and record of rape charges. The woman’s daughter applied for adoption records when she was 18, so she found her birth mother.
After finding out the details of her pregnancy, she asked police to use her DNA and files, known as the “victim-free investigation,” without her mother having to testify.
Police told her she was “not a victim” and therefore could not open any case.
Bennett was indicted 40 years after the trial, after his mother decided to testify in police.
According to The Guardian newspaper, he told the court he did not want to alleviate the shock because he initially did not want to testify to police about the rape. “I struggled and wanted to continue my life,” he said.
‘I have more than evidence’
When she was convicted, the daughter said she needed incredible strength to face her own father in court and continue to fight for justice.
“The pain you caused is immeasurable,” she told him.
Knowing that I am because you chose to rape a child, knowing that being pregnant is one of the worst things that can happen to someone who is abusive to your abuser. I am more than a witness, I am more than a witness, I am more than the result of rape.
Daughter Carwell Bennett
She is now campaigning for changes in the law to help people who have been conceived by rape and are being legally recognized as victims.
“We are not the sin of our father, we are not the children of rape, we are not the seed of evil,” he added.
Judge Martin Hurst said Bennett’s crime had claimed two lives and that his daughter had no doubt suffered the same fate as her mother. He praised her “with admiration and determination” for pursuing justice and encouraged others in her situation to do the same.
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