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Cape Town -

A Brackenfell father has been sentenced to an effective 20 years behind bars for sexually violating his two daughters and three of their friends.

The man, whose identity is being withheld to protect the victims, was sentenced in the Blue Downs Regional Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Johan Beyers said the sentence imposed on the 42-year-old man needed to be proportionate to the crimes he committed.

And while Beyers deviated from the prescribed minimum sentence of life in prison for rape of a minor, he said that long-term imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence.

The father had pleaded guilty to eight charges of sexual assault, four of rape and more than 400 counts of illegal possession of child pornography.

He was sentenced to 15 years in jail for each count of rape which are to run concurrently, four years for each count of sexual assault, also to run concurrently, and one year in jail for the illegal possession of pornography.

While delivering the sentence, Beyers said he had taken into account that the man admitted guilt, was a first offender and was remorseful.

The man was arrested at his home on May 15 last year after an 11-year-old girl, who visited his daughters, told her mother he had raped her.

Other victims, aged 10, 11, 12 and 13, confirmed to authorities he had either penetrated them with his finger or touched their private parts between 2009 and 2011. A total of 425 explicit photographs of children were found on the man’s laptop.

After court, the mother of one of the victims said she was pleased with the sentence: “I’m so happy I can cry. I’m relieved this case is over and happy my daughter can go on with her life.”

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Cape Argus