Australians find incest too close for comfort

Other News Materials 17 April 2008 08:09 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - John Deaves and Jennifer Deaves share a surname because they are father and daughter. They also share a house and have had two children together.

Australians know this because they appeared on television together to reveal all about their seven-year relationship after twice being convicted of incest.

They were placed on good-behaviour bonds, which disallow further sexual activity together. There appears to be no way the courts can enforce the rulings.

In his prime-time television appearance, John Deaves, 61, appealed to viewers for "a little respect and understanding" and admitted that having sex with his daughter was wrong.

"Emotions take over, as people no doubt realize," the convicted armed robber said. "I knew it was illegal. Of course, I knew it was illegal, but, you know, so what?"

Jennifer Deaves, 39, said she and her two children left her husband to set up home with John Deaves in 2001.

"I was looking at him, sort of going 'oh, he's not too bad,'" she told the television audience. "Like you might look at a man across the bar at a nightclub."

The Deaves claim they lost contact for 30 years before becoming a couple. A former wife disputes this

Australians were taken aback at the brazen way the couple were flouting the law. They were also unhappy at the news that it was a paid interview and the Deaves could stand to profit from their illicit relationship.

Freda Briggs, from the University of South Australia, called for the couple to be forcibly sterilized to prevent them from having more children, like their first, which had a congenital defect that proved fatal.

"My controversial suggestion was that in these sorts of circumstances judges should be able to persuade them one way or another," Professor Briggs said.

The Deaves have a 9-month-old daughter named Celeste who is apparently healthy. Their first child, conceived in 2001, had a heart defect and died a few days after birth.