Edmonton

Crown seeks 12 to 15 years for 'house of horrors' abuser

An Edmonton man who tortured and sexually abused a four-year-old girl who called him 'daddy' should spend at least 12 years in jail, a Crown prosecutor argued in court Monday.

An Edmonton man who tortured and sexually abused a four-year-old girl who called him "daddy" should spend at least 12 years in prison, a Crown prosecutor argued in court Monday.

Darcy Bannert, who was convicted of sexual assault and confinement in June, wore blue prison coveralls and at times had a smirk on his face as he listened to the Crown during his sentencing hearing.

Bannert, 26, regularly hit his former girlfriend's daughter, handcuffed her to pieces of furniture, denied her water, and sexually assaulted her at bath time. Witnesses during the trial calledthe home a "house of horrors."

Crown prosecutorShelley Bykewichasked that Bannert be sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prisonto send a strong message to the abuser and to the rest of the country.

"Darcy Bannert has no one to blame but himself. He was the player in this game who held all the cards, while the child was merely his puppet to play sadistic games with, and satisfy an element of his sexual cravings," Bykewich said.

Girl receiving counselling

The little girl, who turnssix next month,is now in foster care and receiving psychological counselling.

A victim impact statement filed by her social worker said the girl still wets her bed almost every night and is in a state of constant trauma.She can only play with other children under direct supervision because she makes sexual advances toward them, the statement said.

Defence asks for 8 years

Bannert's lawyer, Kent Teskey, urged the judge to take into account a cycle of abuse when she hands down a sentence on Wednesday.

"It would be comforting if Bannert came here as an evil man, but that's not the case," Teskey said, telling the court his client was assaulted by his stepfather when he was a teenager, and then sexually assaultedwhile performing community service work.

The defenceis asking fora sentence of eight years, less time spent in custody.

The girl's 22-year-old mother has received a two-year conditional sentence for common assault and causing a child to need protective care.

With files from the Canadian Press