WARNING – this story contains graphic content.
A Christchurch businessman has been sentenced to a lengthy stint in prison for a raft of child sex abuse charges, including repeatedly filming himself raping and abusing a young girl – often while she slept.
Today the court heard how he tried to blame the young victim – who was under 10 – for “instigating” the ongoing and prolific abuse.
But the “depraved” rapist’s name and details will remain secret as he continues to fight for permanent name suppression.
In November the man admitted 38 serious charges, including abusing the girl and possessing a cache of at least 180,000 images of baby and child exploitation and bestiality.
He was convicted of five charges of raping a child and 33 other charges, including multiple counts of unlawful sexual connection, of performing an indecent act on a child, representative charges of making and possessing objectionable publications and a final charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a child outside of New Zealand.
A representative charge means police believe a person has committed multiple offences of the same type in similar circumstances.
The facts of his offending – without the graphic detail – is outlined below.
He appeared in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon where Judge Raoul Neave sent him to prison for 17 years.
MONSTERS DO EXIST: PARENTS OUTRAGE, GRIEF, ANGER AT SEX ABUSER
The hearing started with Judge Raoul Neave hearing the child’s parents read Victim Impact Statements.
The little girl’s mother said the offending had caused her “no end of pain”.
The revelations of abuse were “shocking” when her daughter finally disclosed what had happened to her.
The mother said the grief of knowing what her daughter was subjected to – often in her sleep – was overwhelming.
She said the offender had stolen her child’s innocence and ripped her family apart.
She feared the impact the sexual abuse would have on the girl as she grew and developed relationships.
“You may have made my daughter a victim but I can assure you I’ll make sure she is a survivor for the rest of my life,” she said
The girl’s father said he was filled with rage and sadness when he learned of the “disgusting” abuse.
He said he was stuck in a “constant swing from anger to overwhelming sadness”.
He became emotional speaking of the “hell” he went through after he found out the extent of the abuse from police.
He blamed himself and was burdened with deep guilt that he could not protect his girl.
“I was buying her barbies and bedtime stories and he was raping her,” he said.
“How could anyone sexually assault, rape a small child – my child.
“She is so small, she was so young… She will always remember… we are forever changed and the full impact of this is yet to be felt.”
He said the man was a reminder that “monsters do exist” and he was devastated his little girl had found that out at such a young age and in such a horrendous way.
VICTIM BLAMING, NO REMORSE AND SKEWED THINKING – CROWN SLAMS RAPIST
Crown prosecutor Deidre Elsmore said the offender had no remorse and had a “skewed way of thinking” when it came to his offending.
“There’s no genuine understanding of his part in this offending,” she said.
“His real regret is for the impact on himself, his reputation and his family.
“There was victim-blaming … he suggested to (a presentence) report writer that the girl instigated all of this, a suggestion she behaved in a sexually provocative way.
“He minimised his part in the offending.”
The court heard that the man tried to lay blame on his wife and the child’s mother – and had offered to meet with his victim and her family under the Restorative Justice programme.
“He wants to meet with his victim… he treats her like a participant and adult,” said Elsmore.
She said the convicted rapist had effectively been offending for more than 20 years given he started collecting the objectionable images and videos in 1996.
“By his own admission he has a very long history in collecting these images … this was a particularly gruelling investigation, police officers had to watch the entirety of the offending to identify charges,” she told the court.
Defence lawyer Andrew McCormick maintained his client was remorseful.
He claimed his client had a “cognitive distortion” about what he had done but was “starting an evolution” where he was beginning to take responsibility.
THE FULL GAMBIT OF INDECENCIES: JUDGE JAILS FORMER BUSINESSMAN
Judge Neave said the offending was “beyond belief”.
“He filmed it – he filmed it all,” he said.
“It’s lengthy … it has the full gambit of indecencies.
“It’s completely devastated a family – and he filmed it.”
As the girl’s family and police who led the investigation into her abuse watched on, Judge Neave sentenced the man for “a catalogue of offences the kind of which rarely I have seen”.
He said the facts of the case were “distressing” and the offending was “highly planned and premeditated”.
Judge Neave said the “most disturbing feature” was that he “filmed all of it”.
He said the abuse was “ghastly” and “the greatest breach of trust imaginable”.
“(Her parents) have nothing to reproach themselves for, there is only one person responsible for this offending – and that is you,” Judge Neave told the rapist.
“Your behaviour has been truly depraved, no other word suffices.”
The victim was vulnerable and the offending against her was “significant” and exacerbated by the rapist recording his abuse.
Her parents would need to go to “superhuman” efforts to help her heal from her ordeal.
Judge Neave said his sentence had to reflect the gravity of all of the offending.
“There is no evidence of extraordinary remorse,” he said.
“It’s simply a fact … and indeed the report tends to suggest a level of self-absorption and afailure to come to grips with your offending.”
After assessing all of the facts of the case Judge Neave jailed the man for 17 years in jail and set a minimum non-parole period of almost seven years.
SUPPRESSION: WHY THE SEX OFFENDER'S NAME REMAINS SECRET
The rapist’s sentencing – and the decision around his name suppression was delayed due to concerns for his mental health and his reaction if his name was made public.
His lawyer that soon after he’d spoken to his client about the suppression issue last year the offender attempted suicide.
McCormick sought a further period of suppression until he could obtain an expert psychiatric report.
The presiding judge agreed to maintain suppression until today’s sentencing.
Today McCormick said the concerns were still relevant and the risk to his client’s health and safety if his name was published was “unacceptable”.
Elsmore said threats of self-harm by the offender were merely “attempts to manipulate the court system”.
Judge Neave asked:
“Is he trying to blackmail me? You suppress my name or I’m going to kill myself?”
He ultimately refused the application for permanent suppression.
The judge said had effectively “placed a gun to the court’s head” which was an “unattractive approach” to trying to keep his name secret.
“That’s a staggering level of self-absorption,” he said.
He ruled the man had not proved to the court that publication of his name would lead to undue hardship for him
“There’s just simply nothing here that’s out of the ordinary for someone who has carried out this offending,” he said.
But McCormick said that decision would be appealed.
The offender now has 20 working days to file appeal proceedings to the High Court at Christchurch.
Until then he cannot be identified.
THE 'DISGUSTING' OFFENDING: POLICE REVEAL LITANY OF ABUSE
Last year the court granted the Herald access to the police summary of facts which spans 19 pages and outlines the man’s repeated and regular abuse of the child.
Police said “almost immediately” after coming to know the child he began to groom her with “the intention of creating a safe environment for him to offend”.
“[He] set up multiple cameras throughout his dwelling which enabled him to covertly film the victim, capturing everything she did. The footage from these cameras included audio,” said the police Summary of Facts, provided to the Herald.
“The cameras were positioned to capture normal activity involving the victim such as eating breakfast … but were focused to capture her underwear.
“Other cameras were positioned to capture the victim in the toilet and shower.”
When police arrested the man in June they executed a search warrant at his home and found 81 “digital exhibits” including hard drives, laptops, memory cards and other electronic devices.
A full forensic examination was carried out and “significant child sex exploitation material” was found.
“A total of 1834 files were located including 288 movies and 1546 images. Due to the sheer volume and graphic nature of the objectionable material located, only a sample was analysed,” police said.
Alongside his crude collection of footage of the victim he also had in excess of 180,000 images, videos, cartoons and stories containing child exploitation material and bestiality.
The charge of sexual conduct with a child outside New Zealand came after the man joined an online platform in 2018.
Through that platform he communicated with two girls aged 7 and 10 who police believe were in the US.
He groomed them online and then instructed them to perform sexual, explicit and lewd acts on themselves and each other.
The full details of his offending can be read here.
SEXUAL HARM – DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:
• Text 4334 and they will respond
• Email [email protected]
• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat
Alternatively contact your local police station –
click here for a list.
If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.
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