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Woman who was conceived when her 13-year-old mother was raped by a man, 28, speaks out

A woman who was conceived when her 13-year-old mother was raped by a man, 28, while babysitting has recalled how coming face-to-face with her birth father was the ‘hardest thing she has ever done’.

Pensioner Carvel Bennett, 74, was jailed for 11 years for the historical rape earlier this month, after the daughter conceived in the attack doggedly pursued the case against him for more than a decade. 

He was convicted by a jury in 90 minutes in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in UK legal history. 

His daughter, who has remained anonymous, who was given up for adoption after Bennett’s victim gave birth, took DNA tests in her 40s that proved that he was her father with the evidence used to put him in the dock. 

Speaking on Woman’s Hour earlier today, she recalled the ‘trauma’ of pursuing the case, saying: ‘It’s felt a really lonely, isolating journey.’

A woman who was conceived when her 13-year-old mother was raped by a man, 28, while babysitting has recalled how coming face-to-face with her birth father was the ‘hardest thing she has ever done’

The woman had been taken into care just after being born in Birmingham and adopted at seven months old.

It was only when she was given access to her social services documents that she discovered that her mother was 13 when she was raped, and that her father was Bennett, then 28, with a 1975 file stating: ‘The matter was investigated by police but never brought to court’.

She said: ‘I found out I was concieved in rape when I went to seek my social care files when I was 18-years-old. Prior to that I had a small amount of documentation that my adoptive parents showed me.

‘It said my mother was 14-years-old and my father was 30-35. I was a child at the time, so I didn’t automatically go to that was rape, that was assault. 

‘I was so focused on wanting to see my birth mother, that that wasn’t the main point I was focused on.’

‘When I was 18, I wasn’t surprised but it was still shocking to read that. It was shocking that people didn’t do anything.’

Pensioner Carvel Bennett, 74, was jailed for 11 years for the historical rape earlier this month, after the daughter conceived in the attack doggedly pursued the case against him for more than a decade.

Pensioner Carvel Bennett, 74, was jailed for 11 years for the historical rape earlier this month, after the daughter conceived in the attack doggedly pursued the case against him for more than a decade.

In 2014 the Jimmy Savile scandal broke and he was revealed as a sexual abuser that the woman decided to trace her birth father with the aim of getting him prosecuted for raping her mother as a child.  

The woman, who works as a social worker, said: ‘When I saw those cases, I thought…well I have forensic evidence, I’ve got documentary evidence in the form of social care files.

‘It now seems the tide is turning that people are interested in going after these abuses.

‘I did about two years of research before I approached social care and police in 2014.’

She said she was met with ‘closed doors’, saying: ‘Birmingham City Council, I approached the safeguarding board, they weren’t particularly interested.

‘It was kind of waving me off. I highlighted, this is a child protection, safeguarding issue.

‘I thought it was unbelievable that a safeguarding board wasn’t interested.

‘The police were initially interested in speaking to my birth mother. That wasn’t how I had approached them. I approached them as pursuing this in my own right.

‘Why should she have to go through this? The allegation is documented by a social worker, references to police. The police at the time said there wasn’t enough evidence.’ 

 ‘I know I exist because you chose to rape a child’: Daughter condemns rapist pensioner father, 74, in harrowing impact statement after taking DNA test in long battle to jail him for attack on her 13-year-old mother when he was 28

1975 – Anonymous child, then 13, is informed by her mother that she had to babysit Bennett’s children one evening.

But she was then shocked to find him there, before he asked her to come upstairs to a bedroom.

Speaking in court last month, prosecutor Peter Glenser QC said the defendant told the girl to take her clothes off when they were alone together. 

Mr Glesner said: ‘She does recall saying: ‘I don’t want to do this’ and him saying: ‘It’s going to be alright.

‘She remembers him saying he wasn’t going to hurt her and she should say nothing.’

Mr Glesner revealed that a few weeks later it ‘became obvious she was pregnant’.

The court heard how the victim was taken to a mother and baby home to give birth to her daughter, who was ultimately put up for adoption.

She said when she returned home she was made to sit in a chair and watch a programme about someone having to give up her child.

She said: ‘I had to sit there and watch it to see if I would cry. I know that’s why I had to watch it. I thought I won’t cry. I was adamant I wasn’t going to cry. So I never.’

1993 – Daughter learns she was concieved in rape when she goes  to seek her social care files. 

1995 – Meets with her birth mother for the first time and goes to stay for the weekend. Avoids asking her directly about the conception

2014 – The Jimmy Savile scandal broke and he was revealed as a sexual abuser that she decided to trace her birth father with the aim of getting him prosecuted for raping her mother as a child. 

July 2015 – Having tracked down her birth father Bennett, he goes to visit him at home.  

2019 – She appears on Victoria Derbyshire programme and tells her story. The segment prompts her birth mother to come forward to police, and police move the case forward.

August 2021 –  Carvel Bennett, 74, is convicted by a jury in 90 minutes at Birmingham Crown Court in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in UK legal history. 

 

 

She said she felt her mother wasn’t taken seriously because she was a black working class woman of Jamaican heritage.

The woman then took DNA tests to prove the biological connection and also found her birth mother, who cannot be named. 

She said: ‘I was very clear that this would mean my birth mother may not want to see me, if she was alive. 

‘I didn’t know what kind of life she had had, what this could have done for her. 

‘It was really emotionally difficult to think someone who I’d thought about every day of my life may not want to see me because of what this person did.

‘I still sought to trace her with the help of my adoptive father.’

She said she was 20-years-old when she finally tracked down her birth mother, recalling she ended up ‘staying the weekend’ with her.

She explained: ‘It was really bizarre. Do I regret that? No. I was so overwhelmed and grateful that she wanted to meet me, I didn’t set out to establish a mother and child relationship.  

‘As horrific as the story was I still wanted to meet her.’

During the meeting, she said she had been ‘very careful’ about ‘not directly asking’ her birth mother how she had been conceived.

She said: ‘I was very careful not to ask direct questions, this was a first meeting. My priority was meeting her and understanding her life experiences.’

She said she didn’t form a bond over that weekend, saying instead she felt she wanted to pursue justice for herself and her mother.

She said: ‘To know a child had been so grossly let down…I approached my birth mother in 2014, after doing lots of research, and said, ” I want to try to do this in my own right. I don’t think you should have to come forward. You’ve done that already and the people  did nothing.

“‘My intention isn’t to have you involved, it’s to do a victimless, evidence based prosecution.”‘

‘I’m talking to you now because a man raped a child. It’s the reason I’m alive.’

However it wasn’t until a segment on the Victoria Derbyshire show about the case in 2019 prompted her birth mother to come forward to the police that the case began to move forward.  

She said: ‘The Victoria Derbyshire show was a catalyst for her to make a statement in her own right.

‘The police turned up on her door step days after it aired.’ 

In the meantime, she was able to track down her birth father.

She explained: ‘It got the point where I found him. I went to the police and said, “This is him.”

‘My partner at the time and I were talking, saying “This is going on and on. I know where he is.”‘

The pair went to visit him in July 2015, with the woman wearing a hidden camera in order to interview him.

She said: ‘I knocked on the door and said are you Carvel Bennett. I said, “I think I’m your daughter” and he said “Oh come in”.’

She said she spent 40 minutes with him in his home, asking him questions about if he remembered babysitting for her mother. 

The woman explained: ‘He said I looked like his daughter. He said he’d been invited in by a social worker to do a blood test, but never heard anything back.

‘He said when he was spoken to, he didn’t think it was him because of the timing.’

Bennett's daughter, was taken into care at birth but later discovered Bennett was her father and took DNA tests to prove it, eventually getting him in the dock

Bennett’s daughter, was taken into care at birth but later discovered Bennett was her father and took DNA tests to prove it, eventually getting him in the dock

She continued: ‘I did say outright to him, “Did you have sex with her?” And he said, “Well if you have sex with somebody, it doesn’t mean you make a baby.”  

At the end of the meeting, she took his phone number, thanked him for his time and the pair had a brief hug.   

After a decade of battling with police and other agencies who told her that she was not the victim, the woman pursued him in the courts, which she said was constantly delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said the experience of being in the room with both her parents at the same time was ‘extraordinary’, adding: ‘A family reunion in the backdrop of a rape trial.’ 

Finally, she won the battle that saw her father convicted of rape at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month. 

In court, she bravely revealed that her fight for justice has caused a ‘deeper split’ between her and her birth mother which she described as ‘utterly tragic’. 

She said in a statement read in court: ‘Carvel Bennett you have caused total carnage. Your act of violence decimated any potential relationship between my birth mother and me because you chose to rape a child.’

She added: ‘You have avoided justice for 45 years. You have got to have a family life, had the opportunity to get married, live with children and see them grow up. Because you raped a child I only had seven days at the hospital with my birth mother’.   

Police bring charges in just seven per cent of violent crimes and in only 1.5 per cent of rapes, figures show 

Less than seven per cent of violent crimes ended in anyone being charged – with sexual offences even lower at just 3.5 per cent and rape only 1.5 per cent.

Theft figures were nearly as bad, with just 5 per cent of cases going to court, followed by robberies at just 8.2 per cent.

The statistics – released by the Home Office – suggest a challenging picture of justice and few offences leading to prosecution.

They show over 1.6million violent offences were reported in the year leading up to March 2021 of which around 139,000 saw charges from the Crown Prosecution Service.

Shadow policing minister Sarah Jones said: ‘Under the Conservatives, criminals have never had it so good’.

‘Because you chose to rape a child we are still paying the price,’ she said, adding that his crime had robbed her of a family life.  

She said: ‘I read my grandmother visited and thought I looked like you. Imagine how it felt for my 14-year-old mother to look down to see the features of her perpetrator.

‘I was left in hospital for three days before being placed with my foster family. Who cared for me in that time I will never know. How terrifying. How traumatic.’

She added: ‘I know I exist because you chose to rape a child, to know I’m, for some, the embodiment of one of the worst things to happen, to be pregnant by your perpetrator, to find out what happened to my mother was horrific.

‘It could have been a reason for her not to meet me. That horrendous thought weighed heavy until we were able to reunite. I am more than evidence, more than a witness, more than a product of rape. I am not your shame.’ 

She concluded by telling Bennett: ‘This sentence is 46 years overdue. The pain you have caused is immeasurable.’ 

The jury heard heartbreaking evidence from his victim, who remembers repeatedly telling her attacker: ‘I don’t want to do this’ but he carried on anyway. 

The pensioner admitted having sex with the her teenage mother  in the 1970s and accepted he is the biological father of her daughter. But Bennett, of Erdington, denied a charge of rape and claimed the victim told him she was 16 and consented to sex.

The jury heard evidence from her birth mother, now 59, that she had been informed by her mother that she had to babysit Bennett’s children one evening.

But she was then shocked to find him there, before he asked her to come upstairs to a bedroom.

Prosecutor Peter Glenser QC said the defendant told the girl to take her clothes off when they were alone together. 

Mr Glesner said: ‘She does recall saying: ‘I don’t want to do this’ and him saying: ‘It’s going to be alright.

‘She remembers him saying he wasn’t going to hurt her and she should say nothing.’

Mr Glesner revealed that a few weeks later it ‘became obvious she was pregnant’.

Bennett was sentenced to 11 years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month (pictured)

Bennett was sentenced to 11 years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month (pictured) 

The court heard how the victim was taken to a mother and baby home to give birth to her daughter, who was ultimately put up for adoption.

She said when she returned home she was made to sit in a chair and watch a programme about someone having to give up her child.

She said: ‘I had to sit there and watch it to see if I would cry. I know that’s why I had to watch it. I thought I won’t cry. I was adamant I wasn’t going to cry. So I never.’

 The victim stated she was still ‘shocked’ at the whole ordeal but felt it was soon ‘brushed under the carpet’ by everyone

After a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, a jury took just one hour and 48 minutes to reject his account and find him guilty.

She described seeing him being convicted as ‘just incredible’, adding: ‘It still hasn’t sunk in. This only happened two weeks ago. 

‘It hasn’t dawned on me. I think of this baby, left in hospital. The odds were against me and to think I, conceived in rape, have actually done this. It’s incredible for me to digest.

‘I think for me, part of the justice is for him to be called to account, he’s absolutely responsible for the rape and right he got a prison sentence.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk