The father at the centre of the BrÃ¸nderslev abuse case, who was convicted of sexually abusing and assaulting his and his wifeÂ’s ten children, has had his sentence reduced on appeal.
The 42-year-old Harry Larsen and his 37-year-old wife were sentenced this June in HjÃ¸rring Municipal Court for the systematic abuse of their children, with Larsen receiving an indefinite custodial sentence for sexual abuse, assault and exploitation.
On appeal at the Western High Court, the motherÂ’s four-year sentence was upheld while LarsenÂ’s was changed to a fixed eleven-year sentence. Larsen’s lawyer, Anne Mette Ovesen, said he was pleased with the decision.
Â“I know that he is very satisfied with getting a sentence with a specified length, so he has a concrete date which he can look forward to being released again,Â” Ovesen said.
With parole typically being given after two-thirds of a sentence is completed, and with time already spent in detention, Larsen is likely to serve another five years.
The mother will likely be released, however, after having spent almost half her sentence in custody.
Â“The only thing I regret is that I ever let that man into my life,Â” she told journalists outside the court.
Two of her children attended the proceedings and were reported to joke with and hug their mother.
Â“Now IÂ’m going to spend Christmas and New Year’s with my children,Â” she added.
Despite being found guilty on a charge of forcing her eldest daughter to dig her own grave, the court decided not to increase the 37-year-oldÂ’s sentence.
LarsenÂ’s sentence was changed to eleven years imprisonment despite also being found guilty of an additional charge – forcing his eldest 21-year-old daughter to engage in a sexual act with a horse.
The state prosecutor, Margrethe Sanning, expressed dissatisfaction that LarsenÂ’s sentence was effectively reduced, but acknowledged that it was a borderline case.
Â“ItÂ’s satisfactory that he received a long sentence,Â” she said. Â“The decision to imprison someone indefinitely is typically used in cases where a person repeats a crime he has previously been convicted of.Â”
With no previous convictions, the court could not justify giving Larsen an indefinite custodial sentence.
Indefinite custodial sentences do not necessarily mean life imprisonment, and usually lead to a sentence no longer than an equivalent 12-year sentence, with three years imprisonment legally set as the minimum.
The case was brought to light after the 21-year-old daughter escaped the family’s delapidated home and told police about the squalid conditions she and her siblings had to endure.