Couple abuses homeless teen after taking her in

A DRUG overdose was "a cry for help" by a homeless girl who moved in with an Ipswich couple only to be raped and sexually assaulted by both.

The man, a father and stepfather, crumbled and wept silently in the dock of the District Court at Ipswich when sentenced to four years jail after he pleaded guilty to having an unlawful sexual relationship with the 15-year-old girl.

He will be released to parole after serving 12 months.

The girl had come into the family home with their daughter after she was kicked out of a previous residence. She paid board and helped with housework.

The court heard of the man's mental health issues, compounded by feelings of abandonment as his relationship with his wife crumbled.

The 36-year-old man pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 between March 1, 2017 and June 23, 2017; three counts of having carnal knowledge of a child under 16; and 11 counts of indecent treatment of a child.

The man's de-facto is yet to appear in court to face her charges.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins told the court an ambulance was called to the couple's house after the girl suffered an overdose of medication in what was likely a cry for help.

She told police she was in a sexual relationship with both the man and woman, and believed they would all get married one day.

Mr Wilkins said she detailed the sexual offending that took place in the three months.

The man's wife had not known until he revealed his offending.

"He told police he and his wife were in a relationship with the girl. He says the girl propositioned him to have sex. She told him she loved him and they had sex in the back seat of his car," Mr Wilkins said.

"He admits knowing she was 15. In a later interview he told police she lied about her age, and that she threatened to scream rape if he did not have sex with her."

Judge Dennis Lynch QC noted that the man engaged in sexual behaviour with the girl on five occasions.

The Crown sought a jail term of five to seven years.

Defence barrister Scott Neaves tended a detailed psychiatric report and assessment of the man. Mr Neaves said the man sought comfort from the child and she sought comfort from him too, at a time when his mental health symptoms were "significantly troubled".

"He did not have a sexual interest in children but was able to link emotionally with this child," he said.

"He was suffering a disabling bout of psychosis at the time. Feelings of abandonment at the time. A person with borderline personality disorder, and lack of impulse control."

Judge Lynch read the report, saying it was a very sad story.

"I am not satisfied exceptional circumstances exist," Judge Lynch said.

"You engaged in sexual activities with a vulnerable child for your own gratification."

Sentenced to four years, the man will be released after serving 12 months.



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