A man and a woman from Bronderslev, northern Denmark, have been jailed after being found guilty of abusing their ten children over a number of years.
Harry Antoft, 42, faces indefinite incarceration, while his wife, Tina Jensen, 37, was sentenced to four years behind bars. They were both found guilty of a string of charges including forcible restraint, abuse, incest and assault.
Larsen was convicted of threatening to kill his sons and regularly raping his eldest 21 year-old daughter while keeping her imprisoned in a room without electricity or heating. He also forced her to engage in sexual acts with her step-brother.
During the trial at Hjorring District Court, both parents blamed the majority of abuse on the other, claiming they were living with a “ticking bomb”. Larsen, for example, told the court that his wife would force the older children to beat the younger ones, adding that she once beat their son so hard she was unable to use her hand afterwards.
The Jutland couple have become the first in over 30 years to be convicted of child neglect in Denmark. They were first charged in February last year when the family’s eldest daughter escaped from the house and alerted police.
The family home has since been condemned and demolished after social welfare authorities discovered squalid living conditions. Larsen told the court: “Bedding. That wasn’t something we used,” when the jury were shown photographs of the filth in which the family lived.
Two girls who were sexually abused by their parents have received DKK 100,000 (EUR 13,406) each, despite the eldest 21 year-old initially asking for DKK 967,000. In all, DKK 460,000 was given as compensation to the 10 children. The small figures have since been widely criticised.
It was revealed that the family frequently moved around Denmark to avoid the suspicions of local authorities, and had only been in Brondeslev for a few months before their arrests. Both Lolland and Skanderborg councils had been previously alerted about possible abuses when the family resided within their jurisdiction, but had failed to investigate the claims, with Lolland apparently giving the couple DEK 46,000 to move out of the area. Bronderslev Council, however, received the brunt of the blame, but argued that it did not have enough information to act on the allegations.