A DECORATED Vietnam veteran used his health problems to "brainwash" two stepdaughters into believing his only "pain relief" was sexual activities with them.
The 65-year-old Gympie man used "emotional blackmail" to have regular sexual interaction with the two girls, one from age 13 to 16 and the other from age 11 until she was an adult.
He told the younger girl, whose virginity he took at age 13, she had caused angina attack when he became jealous of her affection for a boy she liked.
He "so successfully distorted her thinking" that she apologised to him.
The girl - who twice feared she was pregnant - would try to be "strong" and stop the weekly to monthly sexual interactions.
But she would always "crumble" because her stepfather would end up bed-ridden with pain within a few days claiming it was because she had withheld "pain relief" from him.
She said she would go in to say goodbye before going to school and he would wipe away tears from his eyes asking "how can you be so cruel?" and "how can you stand being so selfish and mean to see me in this pain?".
The man was jailed for 10 years when he faced Brisbane District Court on Monday for maintaining a sexual relationship with both girls, incest, producing marijuana and possessing unlicensed guns.
Judge Leanne Clare declared him a serious violent offender, which means he must serve at least eight years behind bars.
She said he had preyed on children he was supposed to protect for six years.
"Those children came to care about you in the way children should care about their parents," she said.
"You manipulated their goodness and their innocence.
"You preyed upon those things in the basest way to meet your own perverted urges.
"You made the girls believe that your health depended on what they would give you.
"You described them as your pain relief and you made them feel selfish, cruel if they refused you.
"It was calculated, repetitious offending.
"You worked to establish secrecy and cooperation from your victims.
"You heartlessly manipulated their emotions, persisting even in the face of their own abhorrence."
The court heard the girls were still haunted by flashbacks and nightmares about their experiences, suffering various mental illnesses as a result.
Defence barrister David Shepherd said his client had suffered post traumatic stress disorder after 20 years military service, including serving a year in the Vietnam War.
He said his client, who lost everything during Cyclone Tracey, had a range of other health issues and had "a real and genuine concern he is going to die in custody".
Mr Shepherd described the manipulation of the children as "childish", like a child throwing a tantrum in a supermarket when it did not get the lollies sought.
But Judge Clare said it could also be seen as sophisticated manipulation using subtle techniques to get what he wanted.
Victim impact statement
SOME days she can go about life without forcing herself to smile and talk to others.
But most days she just feels like she is "drowning in a sea of despair and anger".
She was just 13 when her stepfather began molesting her through emotional blackmail and an adult before it stopped.
On Monday, she read out a victim impact statement in Brisbane District Court, asking the court to take away his freedom.
"He took advantage of my innocence and destroyed my childhood memories," she said.
"But, more than that, because of his selfishness and depravity, he has taken away my ability to live a happy, normal life.
"I believe one day I will be able to move past his betrayal but for now my life has been destroyed because of what (he) did to me.
"Over the years I became emotionally numb in order to deal with (his) manipulation and betrayal and because this went on for so many years I still struggle today to feel empathy or compassion towards others, even those I care deeply for.
"During my childhood (he) diminished my feelings of self-worth and until recently I've always thought of myself as dirty and tainted.
"In my mind I used describe myself as nothing more than a dirty whore.
"(He) has taken from me things that are valuable and precious, things I can never get back."
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