The father in the notorious Brønderslev child abuse case in Denmark has had his jail sentence reduced from ‘indefinite’ to 11 years, while his wife’s four-year term was upheld.
The lawyer for 42 year-old Harry Larsen said her client, who was found guilty of physically and sexually abusing the couple’s 10 children over many years, was pleased with the result of the appeal.
Larsen and his 37 year-old wife were both sentenced at Hjørring Municipal Court in June after their eldest 21 year-old daughter escaped from the house and told the authorities about abuse, exploitation and squalid conditions at their home. The court heard how the mother forced the girl to ‘dig her own grave’, while the father made her have sex with a horse.
“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,” Anne Mette Ovesen, Larsen’s lawyer, said in a Copenhagen Post report. The 42 year-old is only likely to serve another five years, however, due to parole and time already spent in jail.
Despite having her four-year sentence upheld, the mother will probably be released after serving just half. “The only thing I regret is that I ever let that man into my life,” she said when leaving the court. Journalists reported that the two children who attended the appeal hearing were seen hugging and joking with their mother.
Margrethe Sanning, the prosecutor, admitted that it was difficult to know what punishment Larsen deserved. “It’s satisfactory that he received a long sentence,” she said. “The decision to imprison someone indefinitely is typically used in cases where a person repeats a crime he has previously been convicted of.”