Dad from Leighton Buzzard jailed for abusing daughter

James Carlino
James Carlino

A father who sexually abused his daughter over 25 years ago was today sentenced to 11 years in jail.

James Carlino, 58, was convicted at Luton Crown Court of 12 counts of inciting a minor to commit gross acts of indecency, from 1984 to 1989.

The charges represented just a sample of the abuse which Carlino wrought upon his daughter Donna, now 35, at the family’s home at Waterdell in Leighton Buzzard.

Handyman Carlino attempted to commit suicide following his conviction on December 15.

In a statement, Donna – who has waived her right to anonymity – told the court: “My mind feels like a network of emotional stabs and scars.”

She said the way Carlino made her feel had a knock-on effect on her every day thoughts. She described having nightmares to this day and still at times sees Carlino’s face in the mirror.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Bartle QC recounted some of the abuse – which started when Donna was around three or four.

He said: “The offences came to an end when Donna was about nine ... she got under a table and told you, in her own words, to ‘f*** off’.

“There is no doubt that your abuse had a serious impact on Donna. Her salvation was a love of horses which other adults encouraged in her.

“She was taken into care at 14. You gave her a ‘thrashing’ ... you hit your 14-year-old daughter with a belt on her legs and back.”

The judge went on: “Your attitude to what you have done to Donna was clear as you told the jury you did not think you were in the wrong when you ‘thrashed’ her and would do again.

“She says her childhood was hell and you were a controlling monster. All her employment has been about getting her hands dirty, she felt that she had to work harder, smarter and constantly prove herself.”

After a confrontation between the pair in 2014, Carlino left a voice message on his daughter’s phone, stating: “I feel sick now, I’ve got a tear in my eye. I didn’t realise it affected you like that.”

Judge Bartle added: “I’ve no doubt that you were admitting your sexual abuse. Your claim at the trial that this was an admission of the violence I do not accept, not least because as I’ve made clear you’ve got no regrets about the violence you showed to your daughter.”

After a troubled adolescence, Donna enrolled in college at 19 and built a career. She now lives away from Leighton Buzzard and is happily settled with her partner and young child.

As he was led from the dock, Carlino said goodbye to family members, including his wife Margaret – Donna’s mother – who has stood by him. He then pointed at his daughter and said, “Bastard”.

She piped back: “Drop dead in there will you.”

As she left the courtroom with her partner, Donna shouted at the public gallery, “You’re supposed to be my mother.”