85 years old Dennis Cottee, a Jehovah’s Witness who sexually abused his two daughters would have faced a lengthy jail sentence had he not been suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dennis Cottee is from Swindon, a large town in the county of Wiltshire, South West England
Judge Jason Taylor QC described Dennis Cottee’s crimes as evil, saying the octogenarian’s campaign of abuse had had a devastating and debilitating effect on the two women.
Dennis Cottee began molesting the girls when they were as young as 11 and 4, raping the older girl in her mid-teens and repeatedly assaulting the other.
The older girl was also targeted by her brother Jacques Cottee, who was jailed for nearly four years after being found guilty of incest at Swindon Crown Court.
Earlier this month, 57-year-old Jacques was jailed for three years and 10 months after a Swindon jury found him guilty of incest, molesting the elder of his two sisters as they returned from watching a film at The Savoy cinema in the early 1980s.
Dad Dennis was ruled unfit to plead, after a court heard he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was receiving palliative care.
The jury found proven 12 charges against him, including raping his elder daughter and repeatedly abusing the younger girl.
Judge Taylor sentenced Cottee to a two-year supervision order, with the defendant placed under the eye of the probation service. He must sign onto the sex offender’s register for five years.
He said the impact of Cottee’s actions on his two girls had had lifelong consequences: “It’s clear to me that these actions have had a devastating and debilitating effect on their lives and will continue to do so as they move forward.
“They are emotionally and psychologically scarred and they always will be.”
The Swindon court heard that had Cottee been ruled fit to stand trial he would likely have received a significant custodial sentence and may well have died in jail.
“It was with a heavy heart that I could not pass a far more punitive sentence on Mr Cottee for what is obviously incalculable pain and harm he has caused his daughters,” Judge Taylor added.
The court heard Dennis Cottee had begun abusing his older daughter after she started at secondary school. The dad had got her to perform sex acts on him as he drove back to their farm, had simulated sex and finally – when she was in her mid-teens – had raped her.
The abuse of the younger daughter began when she was just four-years-old, with Cottee getting the youngster to perform a sex act on him as they were parked in his car outside shops in Cricklade.
He had simulated sex with her in the animal sheds on the family farm, north west of Swindon. On one occasion, he had molested the girl on an upstairs landing in the farmhouse. In a nearby room, a friend of the girl’s mother lay dying of cancer. She said: “While he was doing this I had to listen to her dying. She was gargling. She was rattling.”