A “sadistic” dad who subjected his two children to a brutal regime of physical and mental punishments has been jailed.
Shane O'Brien, 54, forced his daughter to write “I am a liar, I'm a stealer” 1,000 times during one of many incidents that took place over a two-year period.
O’Brien’s abuse also included head shaving, pouring vinegar into wounds and beatings, which his children say has caused them to suffer flashbacks and made them feel “less than an animal”.
Prosecutor Alexandra Bull said the crimes, that took place between July 2014 and December 2016 in the Berkshire and Oxfordshire area, involved "physical abuse, sadistic punishment, emotional abuse and neglect”.
Among the instances, the children – who are now adults – described being forced to hold up placards with the word "liar" written on it, and enduring beatings with a whip and a belt.
The daughter was also made to write "I am a liar, I am a stealer" 1,000 times on a piece of paper and was later "whipped" by her father.
In one episode of violence he repeatedly "bashed" his son’s head against a wall after he downloaded games onto a phone.
Oxford Crown Court heard that on another occasion the boy had his head shaved and was told "it was a sign he was a liar".
The daughter also had her hair cut while she begged him to stop, an ordeal which she said made her feel "worthless".
The boy was also refused food and not allowed to use the toilet on occasion, having to using a bottle in his room.
Both children began to self-harm and O’Brien poured vinegar onto their wounds and said "that will be a lesson not to self-harm again".
A letter was also drawn up, purporting to be from a doctor at the high security Broadmoor Hospital, claiming a child could be sent there.
The children were also forbidden from having friends and numbers were deleted from their phones.
On one occasion, the girl’s hand was bleeding heavily from a dog bite but she wasn’t taken to see a doctor in case the animal was put down.
During a police interview, O’Brien called his son a "manipulative and a pathological liar" but both he partner Denise O’Brien – the children’s stepmother – later admitted their role in the offences.
Both had previously admitted two counts of child cruelty.
Sentencing the pair, judge Nigel Daly said the cruelty involved "gratuitous degradation" as well as "significant force used".
Shane O’Brien, of Chepstow, Wales, was jailed for 26 months, while Denise, of the same address, was handed an eight-month jail term, suspended for 18 months after she was told she had turned a “blind eye” to the abuse.
She must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation days.