Brønderslev parents sentenced for abuse

UPDATE: The parents in the Brønderslev abuse case were sentenced last night after being found guilty of almost all their charges.

The mother, Tina Jensen, was sentenced to four years in prison while the father, Harry Antoft Larsen, was sentenced to indefinite incarceration.

The 10 children were also granted a total of 460,000 kroner in compensation, with the two sexually abused girls receiving 100,000 kroner each, though the eldest girl, 21-year-old Michelle, had initially demanded 967,000 kroner.

ORIGINAL STORY: A couple from the Jutland-town of Brønderslev have become the first parents in over three decades to be convicted by a Danish court of child neglect.

Handing down its decision yesterday afternoon, the Hjørring District Court found 42-year-old Harry Antoft Larsen and his wife, 37-year-old Tina Eva Jensen, guilty on charges that also included abuse, assault, incest and forcible restraint.

The couple were charged in February 2010 with abusing their 10 children and step-children, aged two to 21, after the familyÂ’s oldest daughter escaped the family home and went to the police.

The three judge panel and the three jurors were unanimous in their decision on all charges, with the exception of an incident in which the father was accused of telling one of the familyÂ’s sons to force the 21-year-old daughter to engage in a sexual act with a horse.

At the time the couple was arrested it was alleged that the 21-year-old, who received most of the abuse, had been forced to shovel snow barefoot, but the court found that the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to substantiate that charge.

Larsen was also found innocent of threatening to kill his son.

The court, however, did agree that the father had regularly raped the 21-year-old, forced her to engage in a sexual act with a step-brother, kept her imprisoned in an un-lit, un-heated room and denied her food.

Both parents denied the charges and accused each other of being primarily responsible for the abuse, referring to each other as ‘ticking bombs’.

During testimony, Larsen told the court how his wife beat one of the coupleÂ’s sons so hard he was not able to use his hand afterwards and how she forced the elder siblings to beat the younger ones.

Photographs of the home displayed in court demonstrated the filthy conditions the family lived in, with the father admitting to the court, “Bedding. That wasn’t something we used.”

Pre-trial investigations found that the family moved from town to town in order to avoid council authorities each time they felt the councils were becoming suspicious. They had only lived in Brønderslev for a couple of months prior to their arrests.

However, authorities in several councils have also come under fire for not stepping in to place the familyÂ’s children into custody.

Both Lolland and Skanderborg councils had been previously alerted about possible abuses going on within the family, but Lolland Council reportedly gave the family 46,000 kroner to move to Skanderborg.

Brønderslev Council received the brunt of the blame for failing to act, but the council argued that it did not have enough information about the previous allegations to take action sooner.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for June 21. The prosecution has indicated it will seek to have Larsen incarcerated indefinitely.

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