Rapist jailed after fight for justice by daughter born following attack
Carvel Bennett receives 11-year sentence at Birmingham crown court for raping 13-year-old in 1970s
A rapist whose 13-year-old victim became pregnant in the 1970s has been jailed for 11 years, decades after the crime, following a successful prosecution pursued by the daughter conceived during the attack.
Carvel Bennett, 74, was found guilty of the rape of the teenager at Birmingham crown court on Monday after a three-day trial. She was at his home when the rape occurred because she had been asked to babysit his children.
The woman who brought the prosecution is named Daisy and was separated from her birth mother – who turned 14 two days before the birth – when she was seven days old and was adopted at the age of seven months.
DNA tests on Daisy and her birth parents confirmed Bennett was her biological father.
In what is thought to be the first case of its kind, Bennett was tracked down by Daisy, now 45.
The sentencing judge, Martin Hurst, acknowledged the profound effects Bennett’s rape has had on the lives of the victim and her daughter. He commended Daisy for her “dogged” work to bring Bennett to trial and said the prosecution would not have taken place without her determination in the pursuit of justice.
“She is unquestionably as much of a victim in this as her mother,” he said. He told the court this was “a tragic story” and said the jury had seen through Bennett’s lies trying to blame his victim for provocative behaviour, evidence the judge said was “clearly concocted”.
The rape survivor’s statement was read out by the prosecution barrister, Peter Glenser. “Over the years I have realised that when you are a child you have no voice or control over your life,” she said. “My life was already traumatic due to neglect and other sexual abuse. I was told not to say anything, I knew no one would care or believe me. I felt disgusted with myself and did so for many years. I believed it was my fault. I was carrying his shame though I felt the shame was mine.”
Daisy read out her statement in court and described the trauma of being a black child adopted into a white family. “I experienced feelings of wanting to be invisible because of being black and adopted, and knowing nothing of my past.”
While Daisy and her birth mother are in contact, they said in court that because of the circumstances their relationship was a difficult one.
In her victim statement Daisy’s birth mother said: “I have met my daughter but because of the circumstances it’s been difficult. What I will say about my daughter is for many years she has relentlessly pursued justice. I have three other daughters, they have been my saviours.”
In her statement, Daisy said: “Carvel Bennett, you have caused total carnage, your act of violence decimated any potential relationship between my birth mother and I because you chose to rape a child.”
She added: “I am more than evidence, I am more than a witness, I am more than a ‘product’ of rape. I am not your shame and I will not carry the shame and horror of what you chose to do. This legal process has caused further complexities in the relationship between myself and my birth mother, in my opinion, a deeper split, which is utterly tragic. Because you chose to rape a child we are still paying the price.”
Daisy’s mother, who has had multiple sclerosis for the last 16 years, said: “I just want this to end. I just want to live the remainder of my life in peace.”