A BRADFORD man who committed incest by fathering three children by his own daughter has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Ashraf Khan’s secret was only discovered after the woman confessed on her deathbed in the early 1990s.

The defendant, now 81, was arrested after the woman’s husband, who had DNA tests done to confirm the children’s parentage, finally reported the matter to West Yorkshire Police in 2012.

Prosecutor Abigail Langford told the court that the complainant in the case was born in Pakistan in the 1960s, one of Khan’s six children.

She married her husband there in the early 1980s, before moving to Bradford to join him and her father. She went onto give birth to three children in that decade before passing away.

Miss Langford said: “It was on her deathbed that she told her husband that the defendant was in fact the father of her three children.”

She added that DNA tests carried out by the woman’s husband, who had believed he was the children’s father, then “confirmed what his wife had told him in her dying moments”.

The man did not report the matter to police straightaway, with Miss Langford explaining: “He wished to continue to act as a father and care for the children he had brought up as his own.”

When the matters were reported to police in 2012, Khan was back in Pakistan, and did not return to the UK until 2016.

When he was interviewed in September of that year, the court heard he “denied having any sexual relations with his daughter”.

Miss Langford said that a medical report concerning the three children had found various ailments said to be “directly attributed to their incestual parentage”, including an inability to feel certain kinds of pain, resulting in injuries such as burns during their childhoods.

In a joint victim impact statement, the children said Khan’s offending had caused psychological damage and had impacted on their physical health.

They also paid tribute to their mother’s “honourable” husband for his “fortitude and selflessness throughout the years”.

Khan, of Kirkburn Place, Lidget Green, Bradford, pleaded guilty to three counts of incest just over a month ahead of a proposed trial.

His barrister, Nigel Jamieson, said his client suffered from poor health, but accepted that a prison sentence would not be unjust.

He said: “He (Khan) comes to court today knowing that it must be an immediate custodial sentence. The sentence must be a punitive one, however much time has passed since the offences.”

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, told Khan: “You are a very dishonourable and wicked gentleman, we all now see.”

Speaking of how the woman brought Khan’s offending to light, the judge said: “Her deathbed confession, how dreadful that must have been. Unburdening her soul about this awful trauma she had carried with her.”

He told Khan: “When arrested, you denied matters. Only in the month before your trial did you admit your guilt when you were confronted with the facts and had nowhere to go.

“Those who do this will be regarded as very serious offenders, but in this case, the harm is off the scale.

“You are of good character, but that is a shallow comment, because you have got away with this for years.”

Judge Durham Hall said the guidelines for an offence of incest gave a maximum sentence of two years, but added that the 18-month sentences for each of the three counts would run consecutively, giving a total prison term of 54 months.

Speaking after the case, one of the woman's three children said: "We would like this case to bring awareness of incest being committed, and for other people who may have experienced something similar to come forward so that other offenders who have committed similar crimes can be tried through the courts."

They also highlighted extracts from their victim impact statement, which read: "No amount of words can explain what we have been through or what we are going through.

"You hear and read about men who commit incest never thinking it would happen in your own family, especially to your own mother.

"The only one who was there for us was a man of no blood relation who brought us up as if we were his own children.

"The significant choice and sacrifice that he made we will never be able to be thank him enough.

"We cannot begin to imagine what he has been through in terms of how it has affected him mentally, psychologically, and emotionally.

"It takes a special man to be a dad, as anyone can be a father. He is one of a kind and we will never be able to repay him for what he has done for us.

"Everything we are suffering and going through has all been a big rollercoaster and surreal.

"Her father was the one who was supposed to protect his daughter against anyone who caused her harm, but instead he committed these horrific acts without thinking about any of the consequences.

"He thought he had got away with the acts he had committed for many years, but the past has caught up with him.

"The man pleading guilty was life-changing for us. When he pleaded guilty, it confirmed what he had done to his daughter.

"He had portrayed a clean-cut image for many years, but secrets cannot be hidden and lies eventually catch up with you.

"The psychological and mental damage he has done is significant to so many lives, especially to our lives. There has been a lot of unanswered questions that have been answered now.

"It has been a long journey from discovering the horrific acts he committed to his daughter to reporting the matter to the police. With the help and support of the fantastic police force and the CPS, today, after many, many years since our mother passed away, we have finally got justice for our mum."