Online victims thought of suicide, self harm

November 12, 2015 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

The young victims of Karl Sheridan Salmon’s social media and text threats were driven to consider suicide and self harm, the High Court at Christchurch was told as the 21-year-old was jailed for six years.

He made threats to expose girls online, rape, kill, kidnap, burn a house down, and “cut the face off” one of his victims.

“The threats were particularly nasty, targeted as they were at young girls,” said Justice Cameron Mander, who imposed the jail term with a non-parole term of two-and-a-half years.

Salmon is assessed as a continuing high risk of re-offending. He has three previous convictions for sexual connection with a young person, and a total of 50 convictions on his record.

He pleaded guilty in September to a charge of blackmail, five of sexual connection with a young person, doing an indecent act on a young person, four of threatening to kill, two of possessing an objectionable publication, and one of making an objectionable publication.

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier said: “The victim impact statements outline naïve and trusting girls who were utterly unequipped to cope with the defendant’s emotional manipulation of them.” His serious offending led some victims to have thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

The psychiatric report assessed Salmon as “significant risk of further sexual offending”, she said. He was assessed as displaying only superficial remorse, and she urged the judge not to place weight on a letter he had handed in today. “It is too little, too late, and the motives behind it are doubted.”

Defence counsel Andrew McCormick said Salmon had a difficult upbringing and an unhappy childhood. He had difficulties at school, difficulties forming friendships, and was eventually expelled from school. He had no significant male role model in his life, began anti-social behaviour, and then started petty crime.

He asked the judge to place some weight on the letter because it was a significant step forward for Salmon. Blood had drained from Salmon’s face when he was read the victim impact statements, and he accepted the trauma he had caused to the victims and their families, Mr McCormick said.

Justice Mander recounted how Salmon had made contacts on Facebook and had sex with two girls aged 14 and 15. He made threats online and by text to continue relationships, or to get a girl to send him intimate photographs. The threats involved three victims.

The victims had been seriously affected, and the effects were likely to be long-lasting. “The victims felt vulnerable and continue to be fearful.”

Salmon was seen as a high risk of harmful reoffending and the risk would remain high unless he received treatment. He had behavioural problems and learning difficulties in his childhood, but was not diagnosed as having any depressive illness or disorders as an adult.

He saw Salmon’s actions as being “predatory behaviour” triggered by anger at being rejected.

He described Salmon’s letter as “some belated expression of remorse and the beginnings of insight”.

The Crown had asked for a non-parole term as part of the sentence.

As Salmon was led out of court, an angry father, who had been glaring at Salmon from the public seating throughout the sentencing, called out: “They will be the hardest years of your life.”


Category: Focus

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