A FORMER church minister who was obsessed with the Bible has been convicted of raping his wife and stepdaughter and child cruelty during a 15 year reign of terror.

Gloucester Crown Court was told that the middle aged man from the Quedgeley area, who cannot be named, imposed a 'Victorian nightmare' on his wife, stepdaughter and stepson.

He was found guilty of 10 sexual offences and two child cruelty charges dating from March 1995 to January 2010.

Jurors were told that the man - who attended an evangelical church with his wife and had once been a minister - believed that Biblical teachings meant that a woman was committing a sin if she refused to allow her husband to have sex with her.

He was found guilty of two charges of raping his wife, two of raping his stepdaughter, sexually assaulting the girl twice, two offences of sexual activity with the girl, two charges of inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity and one child cruelty charge against the girl and one against the boy.

The man -  described by the trial judge as arrogant - acknowledged he had puritanical religious beliefs but claimed the allegations were a fabrication.
Prosecutor Ian Fenny explained how he demanded obedience from his family.

He had strict views on how the house was kept, the appearance of family members, how his wife dressed and what family members were allowed to do.

Besides inflicting physical punishment on the two stepchildren, he would make them perform cruel tasks such as cleaning specks of dirt from the carpet on their hands and knees, the court heard.

He would also wake his stepdaughter in the early hours by throwing water in her face.

"Their lives were a total Victorian nightmare," said Mr Fenny.

"We are talking of violence by a parent towards a child which goes back to another century, indeed some would say two centuries."

He was remanded in custody and told to expect a long prison sentence.

At the end of the hearing some jurors were in tears as the judge addressed the girl, praising her bravery during the court proceedings.