“I hate being a victim,” a 16-year-old girl wrote in her powerful victim impact statement two years after being raped twice by Corey David Fowler.
Fowler, 35, was jailed for 12 years 9 months by Justice Rachel Dunningham at his sentencing in the High Court at Christchurch. She imposed a non-parole term, barring him being considered for release until he has served 6 years 6 months of the sentence.
But she ruled out preventive detention because Fowler’s qualifying previous sexual offences had been 18 years ago, and because treatment had not yet been tried. There were indicators that he would benefit from treatment.
He had admitted two charges of raping the 14-year-old in her Linwood home, sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, aggravated burglary, sexual conduct with a young person, attempted sexual violation, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Justice Dunningham described it as “a very powerful victim impact statement” before it was read in court on the girl’s behalf by Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier.
The girl wrote: “I don’t want to write this statement, but I have to. Everyone’s telling me how important it is, but no-one knows how hard it is to write.”
She said she was sometimes so angry she started shaking and wanted to yell at people, and sometimes she just wanted to hide away in her room.
She had been popular at school with lots of friends, and had believed she could be anything she wanted. “It all changed. I don’t believe I’ll ever get over this. I now suck at school. I hate going. I have lost the ability to focus in class.”
She wrote: “Everyone at school knows what happened to me. I feel them looking at me and feeling sorry for me. I hate being a victim. I have hardly any friends anymore. My friends left me. I guess it’s because I changed.”
She said she now didn’t tell anyone anything. “I’m a closed book. That’s how I get through the day. That’s how I survive. My mind is f—-d. I don’t know how to fix it or if I ever can.”
The girl was the victim of knifepoint rape when Fowler committed home invasion attacks on her in her bedroom in June and August 2015. Multiple sex acts were committed during the attacks. In one attack, he had blindfolded her with a dressing gown belt.
Miss Boshier said preventive detention was warranted because of the high risk that Fowler posed according to the two health assessors’ reports.
Defence counsel Serina Bailey said Fowler was not an articulate or expressive person but the girl’s victim impact statement had an impact on him, and he was remorseful. She argued that an open-ended sentence of preventive detention was not warranted. He had faced immense difficulties in his life which had been “a genuine uphill battle”.
Justice Dunningham said: “He has had as traumatic an upbringing as I have seen in any of these reports.”
The judge said he had 45 previous convictions. He had accepted responsibility because of the overwhelming evidence against him, including DNA, but he had only limited empathy for the victim.
She said his record did not show a clear pattern of serious sexual offending, which was one of the requirements for a preventive detention sentence. There was a prospect that his offending risk could be addressed through treatment programmes.
After his release, Fowler will have to be registered as a sex offender and will be monitored, and he was also read a first-strike warning which imposes heavier penalties on sex offenders who commit further offences.