The Northern Star Archives

Dad used caravan trips to abuse daughter's friends

AN IPSWICH court has heard how a father took his daughter's young friends on coastal caravan trips only to sexually abuse two sisters over a period of nearly three years.

He abused a third girl for more than a year and once indecently assaulted his own daughter, the Ipswich District Court was told earlier this week.

In one frightening incident when one of the victims was caught in a beach rip, the opportunistic offender groped her while she was stranded on a sand bar.

With 20 months already spent in jail since his arrest in late September 2017, the 65-year-old pleaded guilty to maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child aged between six and nine; maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child aged between 12 and 15; maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child aged between 12 and 13; oral rape; 10 counts of indecent treatment of children; and one lineal/descendent indecent treatment - domestic violence offence.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said the man had been convicted of soliciting a prostitute a decade ago; and sentenced in 2011 to a jail term for possession of child exploitation material and using the internet to access child pornography.

He said a sentencing judge at the time found the man to be at low risk of re-offending.

Mr Wilkins outlined the circumstances of the offences against the girls and how he would indecently assault his daughter's friends when they spent time with the family.

In one incident, the children were playing outside at 3am in "a scare challenge" when he sexually assaulted one of them.

One girl told police his offending against her happened "lots and lots", her friend's dad telling her not to tell anyone.

Another girl told police "he sexually abused her each time he saw her".

"It was quite brazen offending; premeditated, predatory behaviour," Mr Wilkins said.

One of his victims told police the man would take her swimming at the beach and every time, as many as 30 times, would offend by sexually touching her.

During the incident when she was caught in a rip, he said he would help her before indecently touching her while swimming her back to the shore.

Mr Wilkins said the fourth victim was the man's daughter who he indecently touched once in the family car.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said the offences were detected when one of the children complained. He noted that the man was arrested in an incident on the Pacific Highway in NSW.

One of the children, in a victim impact statement, revealed the awful consequences of his behaviour.

"She doesn't want to close her eyes at night. She sees his face. She suffers flashbacks and nightmares. She is angry, and says she wants to die," the court heard.

The Crown sought a jail term of no less than eight years.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said a report detailed the man was willing to undergo treatment, although his degree of insight was not the best.

Judge Horneman-Wren said there had been predatory intent but over the lengthy time of offending it became almost routine.

"Your vile sexual offending must have been frightening, traumatic and was disgusting behaviour," he said.

The man was sentenced to eight years' jail and to lesser terms. With 589 days already served, he will be eligible to apply for parole in May 2020.