An abusive father has been jailed for 17 years after he admitted subjecting his two young daughters to eight years of horrific sexual assaults.

The 46-year-old has left his entire family traumatised and his ex-partner told Exeter Crown Court that they would still be in therapy long after he is released from jail.

In a harrowing impact statement, she said her two daughters could not understand why he had his sentence reduced for pleading guilty to the crimes that he committed against the girls.

The mother the girls are struggling emotionally and felt they had less access to help than their father did in prison. One girl has self-harmed and the other has taken an overdose.

The father, from East Devon, was jailed for abusing the older girl in 2019 but the younger sister was not told details of the case and only disclosed to her mother that she had also been abused in 2021.

The man, who cannot be named because it would identify the victims, admitted 21 sexual offences against the older sister including two rapes and was initially jailed for 13 years with a six year extended licence four years ago.

At Exeter Crown Court today, he appeared by video link from prison he admitted two counts of sexual assault on a child and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and was jailed for a further four years by Judge Stephen Climie.

It means his total sentence is now 17 years, of which he will serve two thirds, and he will then be subject to recall if he fails to adhere to strict licence conditions for six years after his release.

Judge Climie told him: You have to be dealt with for the despicable abuse of your daughter which must be added to your previous sentence. The damage you have caused to the victims and to your family is not only unimaginable but unconscionable.”

He told him he was trying to replicate the sentence he would have received if both cases had been dealt with together in 2019.

Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said the offences against the older girl were committed over several years while those against the younger sister covered a much shorter period when she was eight.

She did not disclose them to her mother until her father was already in prison and he admitted them when he was visited by police. He admitted that he had also taken a photo of her on his phone during the abuse which he deleted almost immediately.

The girls’ mother said in a victim impact statement that the effect on her and the girls had been traumatic and would remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Miss Francesca Whebell, defending, said the defendant had admitted his guilt as soon as he was asked about the offences and is now focussed on completing courses while in prison to change his behaviour and attitudes.