An NSW Illawarra mother who not only knew her husband was repeatedly raping their young daughter but even helped facilitate the abhorrent abuse at times has claimed she was only acting out of fear and was powerless to stop the attacks, a court has heard.
The woman's extraordinary confession came during an investigation by Illawarra child abuse squad detectives into the ongoing sexual assault of the now 16-year-old girl at the hands of her biological father.
The 36-year-old man, who cannot be named in order to protect his daughter's identity, pleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court this week to one count of maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
The woman has not been charged with any offences.
Court documents reveal the woman told detectives in an interview that her husband had "openly pursued their daughter sexually" since she was nine years old and would "talk about it as if it was a known fact in the house".
She said she tried to stop the abuse when her daughter told her what was occurring by offering herself up to her husband for sex instead, but claimed he rejected her most of the time, saying their daughter was "better than her".
The woman said she had never witnessed the abuse first-hand but her husband had told her about it, implying he committed the offences because she (his wife) wouldn't have sex with him.
"He would say 'well can you go and ask [the daughter] if it's too much effort for you?'," the woman told police during the interview.
She admitted she had occasionally asked their daughter to have sex with her dad but claimed she was only acting out of "fear and pressure".
She said the girl usually refused but occasionally did have sex with her father "to protect her mother".
The mother further admitted her husband sometimes asked her to leave the house so he could be alone with their daughter and while she tried not too, sometimes it was "unavoidable".
When asked why she hadn't reported the matter to police, the woman said she had been raped by her own father in similar circumstances as a child and her mother had tried to protect her in the same way.
She also said she was afraid what people would think of her and worried she would lose her children if she made the abuse known to authorities.
The court heard the father began sexually abusing the victim, the oldest of three children, when she was eight years old and first raped her when she was in Year 3 at school, telling her it was normal for the oldest child to have sex with their father.
She told detectives her father would stand in her room and watch her then ask if she "wanted it" and would keep watching her until she gave in.
She said she initially tried to push him away when he raped her but eventually learned not to because it would "pull and hurt down there" when she did.
She said her father would get angry if she refused him.
"When I finally gave him what he wanted he was happy," she said.
The teen said her father plied her with alcohol on at least one occasion before raping her and gave her $20 another time to perform oral sex on him.
She said the abuse was so regular she had trouble recalling individual acts, but did say she remembered being raped at one stage in late 2018 while her mother was in hospital giving birth to her baby sister.
It's unclear how police became aware of the abuse but the girl gave a statement to detectives in November last year, resulting in her father's arrest.
When interviewed at Lake Illawarra Police Station, the man admitted he'd had a sexual attraction to the girl since she was young and sometimes saw her "as his partner" rather than his daughter.
He also admitted when he did have sex with his wife, he would ask her to role-play and pretend to be their daughter.
He said he felt "ashamed and disgusted" by his actions when talking about them.
The man remains in custody and will face Wollongong District Court on August 28 when a sentencing date will be determined.
If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual, domestic or family violence, call 1800 Respect on 1800 737 732.