A FATHER who admitted repeatedly raping his eight-year-old daughter has been jailed for 11 years and 10 months.

The 31-year-old man, who cannot be named to prevent his children being identified, made the girl wear bikinis and revealing clothes.

“He would tell her she was sexy and would tap her on the bottom,” Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court.

Judge Graeme Smith heard how the father raped his daughter on at least 10 occasions over the period of a year.

It was sometimes witnessed by the man’s young son, who revealed the abuse to his mother after police were called to the family’s home over a domestic incident.

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“He said he had seen his father with [his sister]. The were both naked,” said Mr Cadwallader.

“He said he had seen the defendant “going up and down” on [his sister].

The court heard that the man would regularly share his daughter’s bed after he had fallen out with his partner and they were sleeping apart.

The father pleaded guilty to raping his daughter and two counts of assaulting his son.

Mr Cadwallader added that the father admitted he would take spice, cocaine and alcohol.

After the offences came to light the children were taken into care.

Mr Cadwallader said the girl told police the she “had sexual intercourse with the defendant a lot and it happened all the time" but he told her to keep it secret.

The court heard that the girl and her brother had been badly affected psychologically by their experiences with their father and will need years of therapy.

A victim statement written by their social worker said the girl is now "emotionally closed down", suffers night terrors and has self harmed while her brother suffers with anxiety.

"He fears that his father will try and find him and hurt him," said Mr Cadwallader.

Nicholas Clarke, defending, stressed that the man has learning difficulties, ADHD, autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

He added that, as a child, he was expelled from nursery school and never had mainstream education. "While numerically a 31-year-old man, he remains, emotionally and physically, nothing more than a child himself," said Mr Clarke.

He added that his disabilities mean he could not, initially, understand the extent to which he had done wrong and had been shocked when told by the probation service that he would face a prison sentence.

"He is a man who has difficulty appreciating his own emotions let alone those of others," said Mr Clarke.

But, as the father wept in the dock, Judge Smith told him: "There is no doubt you did know what you were doing was wrong but continued to act that way." He told the father he will not be eligible for parole until two thirds of the way through his sentence and will spend an additional four years on licence.

The father was also placed on the sex offenders' register and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order banning him from working with children or vulnerable adults and limiting contact with under 16s.