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Dad who sexually abused two daughters escapes punishment
A FATHER who sexually abused two of his daughters has walked away from court without punishment.
Gerald Longman, 78, was this morning given an absolute discharge at Taunton Crown Court, despite being guilty of four indecent assaults, two rapes and inciting a girl under 14 to carry out an indecent act.
Longman, now of Manor Fields, Bridport, had been deemed unfit to stand trial at an earlier hearing, but a jury declared him guilty of the charges.
His daughters Christina Western and Heather West have waived their anonymity to tell how their father attacked them as children when the family lived in Wellington.
Judge Graham Hume Jones said that as the law stood he was obliged to impose an absolute discharge, although it was "with the greatest reluctance".
He added: "I have no doubt that all those who are listening to this case will keep a very close eye on the defendant (Longman) in the future."
Addressing Mrs Western and Mrs West, who were in tears in the public gallery after the sentence, the judge said: "I'm very sorry at the way this has happened and ended.
"I hope at last it brings you some closure to help you with the rest of your lives."