Farmer starved and beat his three children for a decade after suffering a breakdown when two of his sons drowned – Telegraph.co.uk

A wealthy farmer who suffered a breakdown after the death of two of his sons, kept his remaining three children “virtual prisoners” in their own home, starving them and subjecting them to horrendous cruelty.

Derek Rawlinson, 80, inflicted ten years of sadistic punishment on his surviving two daughters and one son, prompting two of them to attempt suicide in a bid to escape the horror.

He had a severe mental breakdown after his eldest son James, 12, died during an unsuccessful attempt to rescue his seven-year-old brother, Peter, from drowning in a pond on the family’s farm, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The double tragedy, witnessed by two of the other siblings, then aged 10 and nine, was preceded by the death of another son as a young baby.

Rawlinson began thrashing his surviving children, kicking them whilst wearing steel-toed boots.

He fired a gun at one and forced one to touch an electric fence, while their mother, Maureen, a nurse, spanked them if they dared complain.

Rob Hall, prosecuting, said: “He became a bitter, violent, controlling man who focused his frustrations on his remaining children.

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