Before I turn to the relevant facts I should say that before this Court, Mrs Clare who appears for the appellant, submits, as she did before the learned sentencing judge, that the head sentence should be in the range from 20 years to life imprisonment and in fact she has asked this Court to allow the appeal and impose a sentence of life imprisonment.
The learned sentencing judge had before him a schedule giving particulars of each of the twenty-seven charges appearing on the first indictment. His Honour also heard oral submissions detailing the changes. I propose to give some detail of the charges in respect of each of the four victims.
Victim No 1
This complainant was a 22 year old single English woman residing at a caravan park at Bundaberg. At about 5.30 a.m. on 28 October 1995 she went to a nearby toilet block. The respondent had followed her into the toilet block and used a knife to force her into two shower cubicles. He committed six offences upon this woman, being, deprivation of liberty, indecent assault, attempted rape, indecent assault with a circumstance of aggravation (forcing her to perform oral sex), indecent assault and attempted anal intercourse and rape.
Physical injuries suffered by this victim included bruising to the neck and chest, grazed lips, blood on the labia majora and grazes and lacerations to the vaginal entrance. The knife was used by the respondent throughout the sexual assault accompanied by threats to kill.
These events transformed this victim from a carefree young woman who had confidently travelled around the world to a person afraid to be alone and constantly battling irrational fears.
This complainant was a 22 year old typist on her way to work. As she approached the pedestrian overpass to the Gailes Railway Station at about 6.30 a.m. on 11 April 1996 the respondent grabbed her from behind. He dragged her at knife point towards bushes saying “slut, bitch, follow me” and “you better act as my girlfriend or I’ll slit your throat”; he pushed her towards a fence and then on to the ground as she resisted. She screamed for help and a man responded. The respondent fled.
The behaviour I have just set out constituted attempted rape. The respondent also committed the offence of grievous bodily harm. The complainant tried to get away from the respondent and grappled with him when he was holding the knife. He struck her with the knife on her hands and arms. She pushed the knife away from her throat with her hands. She suffered scarring and permanent tendon damage to her thumb – this has threatened her occupation as a typist. She has undergone two operations and physiotherapy is ongoing.
Victim No 3
This complainant was aged 18 years when at about 11.35 a.m. on 28 May 1996 she left a train at Ebbw Vale Railway Station to walk towards her home. She followed a concrete pedestrian path when the respondent ran from behind, seized her and covered her eyes with one hand and pressed a knife to the right side of her throat saying words to the effect “don’t scream or I’ll kill you”. He forced her from the path she was following and into a grassy area some 5 metres away. Over a period of some 40 minutes he committed the following offences:-
(a) three separate rapes;
(b) indecent assault with circumstance of aggravation (fellatio);
(c) indecent assault with circumstance of aggravation (anal intercourse or sodomy);
(d) indecent assault with circumstance of aggravation – digital penetration of the vagina;
(e) indecent assault with circumstance of aggravation – forcing the complainant on to her hands and knees and digitally penetrating her anus;
(f) two charges of indecent assault – one of undressing the victim and using her dress to blindfold her; then kissing both breasts and then pushing a knife against one breast and the other indecent assault being forcing the complainant to masturbate him;
(g) common assault – after deep tongue thrusting during vaginal rape – spat in her mouth and made her swallow his saliva;
(h) stealing – stealing $130-$135 from the complainant’s purse.
The respondent, while going through this complainant’s wallet, read out her name and address.
The physical injuries suffered by this complainant included a bite to the neck, superficial lacerations all over her body except her face, marks from the knife on her neck, throat and breast and redness and tenderness of the vagina and anus.
The evidence shows that at some stage the respondent wrote down this complainant’s telephone number and some months later the paper with her telephone number on it was still in his wallet.
Victim No 4
This victim was a 42 year old woman who was a university student and a mother of children. At about 11.45 a.m. on 25 June 1996 she alighted from a train at Ebbw Vale Railway Station and began to walk along a path beside the train line to catch a bus. She intended to cross an overhead bridge and when about 10 metres from the bottom of the stairs to that bridge, the respondent seized her from behind, placing his cupped hand hard against her nose and mouth and at the same time holding a knife against her neck.
She was forced at knife point to walk into an abandoned industrial shed not far from the railway station.
Apart from the knife, he continued to hold his hand over this victim’s mouth causing her to hyperventilate such that she believed she was going to faint. She tried to pull his hand away from her mouth in order to get a breath but he struck her several times across the face and ears and threatened to kill her. He tied her jumper around her head so that she could not see what was going on. This complainant’s ordeal at the hands of the respondent lasted about 40 minutes. During this time he committed the following offences:-
(a) three separate rapes while in the shed;
(b) assault with intent to rape – this occurred before she reached the shed;
(c) two offences of indecent assault each with a circumstance of aggravation (fellatio);
(d) indecent assault – she was forced to masturbate him using both hands;
(e) stealing – the respondent stole $80 from her bag during the time when this victim was being subjected to the above conduct.
The respondent said to her “Tell me where you live. If you lie I will check your driver’s licence and I’ll go and get your kids. You don’t know what I’m going to do to your kids. I would enjoy having sex with some little girls”. The victim believed what he said.
This victim’s physical injuries included three lacerations to her neck, cuts to the inner and outer arms and to her hands and wrists, scratches to her knees, at least 9 linear lacerations below her breast (caused by the knife) injury to an eye and cheek and tenderness and pain in the genital area.
When the respondent was eventually located he strenuously denied responsibility for any of the charges to which he ultimately pleaded guilty. The cases against him were overwhelming. In the case of each of the three rape victims he was identified by DNA evidence – the spermatozoa found in each victim was his.
In addition he had kept the telephone number of one of the victims. Two of the victims had been raped at or near railway stations frequented by the respondent. Gailes and Ebbw Vale are on the Brisbane – Ipswich rail line. In addition the respondent’s girlfriend had observed the respondent’s disappearance at the time when the last rape had occurred and his dishevelled and dirty appearance soon afterwards .
The respondent was born on 8 January 1978. He was 17½ years old at the time the first rape was committed and was 18 years old at the time when he attacked each of the other victims.