After getting a 10-year jail term for eight years of sexual abuse of his stepdaughter, a 39-year-old man told his victim: “I love you so much.”
Christchurch District Court Judge Tom Gilbert had granted the man’s request to say something from the dock and he turned to the girl sitting in the front row of public seating, with her mother – his wife.
His words were hard to make out. He seemed to say: “I love you so much. Some listen, some don’t. Get all this crap out (of your head), okay?”
The girl left the courtroom in tears and the man had often been weeping as he stood in the dock during the hour-long sentencing.
He had admitted two charges of raping her, sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, attempted sexual violation, abduction for sex, two charges of sexual conduct with a child under 12, and two for a child under 16. Two of the sexual conduct charges were representative, meaning the offending occurred repeatedly.
The 16-year-old stepdaughter told the court she hoped to get her family back together, including the stepfather. There will be no prospect of that for at least four-and-a-half years, after the non-parole term expires on the 10-year jail term.
The girl said she felt angry and sad about what the man had done to her from the age of eight till she was 15, and she was glad that it had stopped.
But she was upset that her disclosure had led to her family being torn apart. “I want him to get better and come home so we can be a family again.”
She said she had had her own mental health problems but her stepfather had been the one who was on her wave-length and helped her cope with the world. She was now not allowed any contact with him but wanted to talk to him and visit him in prison.
“I want our family to stay together,” she said, and as she ended her statement the man blew her a kiss from the dock.
The 39-year-old man accepted his offending and his defence counsel Tom Stevens told the court he was “grateful” it had all been brought to an end when the girl called at the Hornby Police Station in Christchurch on January 26.
Her visit was rapidly followed by the arrival of the man himself, who told the police he was “a disgrace of a person” who needed to be locked away. He said he could not control his urges and took it out on the girl.
Police said: “He stated his thoughts and urges had become increasingly violent over time and he was worried he was going to kill her.”
His offending involved eating chocolate off her bare skin, rubbing against her, raping her, and at one stage tying her hands to the headboard of her bed using his dressing gown cord. He untied her and apologised to her soon after. The was the day the girl went to the police station.
Judge Gilbert said: “This is a very serious case of long term sexual abuse of a person you ought to have protected.
“There will undoubtedly be harm that has been caused even if (the stepdaughter) does not recognise it yet.”
In the psychological report prepared ahead of the sentencing, the man presented as having two personalities. He openly talked about the wicked things he had done being perpetrated by “the evil me”.
“The psychologist felt this may be a strategy on your part to avoid properly confronting what you have done,” said Judge Gilbert.
He noted that until recently the man had been in the prison’s At Risk Unit, where prisoners are closely monitored, and that he had attempted suicide last year.
But he said: “There is not question that you knew what you were doing, and that what you were doing was wrong.”
He accepted the man was remorseful for the damage he had caused and was willing to have treatment.
He read the man the first strike warning that imposes heavier penalties on repeat sexual offenders, and granted permanent name suppression to protect the victim.