Fardon victim’s terror: ‘He could be anywhere’


INFAMOUS sex monster Robert Fardon's child rape survivor is living in fear and had to be treated for chest pain after finding out the vile predator would be released into the community.

This comes as the state's top cop said Fardon would not be monitored by a GPS tracker and refused to reveal exactly how often he must report to police, instead spruiking the man as an example of rehabilitation.

Sharon Tomlinson, who was raped at gunpoint by Fardon when she was just 12 years old, told The Courier-Mail a court-enforced one-week suppression on the fact the 70-year-old would no longer be subject to a supervision order made her feel as though she was protecting the man who raped her as a child.


Sharon Tomlinson, a survivor of Robert Fardon who has been released from jail. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner
Sharon Tomlinson, a survivor of Robert Fardon who has been released from jail. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner


"When I found out there was no GPS tracker, all bets were off for me," Ms Tomlinson said. "How will I know now if he will be in my suburb, or if I'm going to be in his suburb?

"I don't know where he is, I could be on a train and see him and I wouldn't know what to do, it would be a fight-or-flight response. I am now looking over my shoulder wherever I go because I don't know where he is.

"It's so frightening that I could run into him on a train, in a shopping centre. I have to be super vigilant.

"The survivors have been given a life sentence and we will never feel safe until he is dead."

She questioned whether the Supreme Court judge who granted Fardon his freedom would want him as a neighbour.

"Would Justice (Helen) Bowskill or the Attorney-General be prepared to have him live next door to them?" she asked.

IN FULL: The 38-page judgement

Ms Tomlinson, 53, said she was admitted to a medical facility because she believed she was having a heart attack after being told the Queensland Supreme Court had ruled Fardon would be back on the streets.

"The gag order forced me to protect the predator that stole my innocence while he found a comfortable place to live," she said.

"It was like the tables were turned and I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone, but most importantly his other survivors.

"On the day I found out and was told, I couldn't speak about it for a week - I had chest pain and had to go the doctor, but it turned out to be a massive panic attack."

Commissioner Ian Stewart yesterday said Fardon's release was an ­example that Queensland's rehabilitative system was working.

Robert John Fardon is now a free man and able to travel on public transport. Picture: 9 News Queensland
Robert John Fardon is now a free man and able to travel on public transport. Picture: 9 News Queensland

"The person that we talk about is described in that judgment as someone who is more than 70 years of age whose health is not good," he said.

"They are demonstrating that the system works, that there is hope for people who make reasoned decisions … I do not condone the actions of this person … but the system that we run as a State is one that is designed to assist people to make better decisions, to become members of our society that don't offend - and that's what's occurring in this case."

The State last year made several attempts to extend Fardon's supervision order through the courts. In the original hearing, the Queensland Supreme Court found he would not be an unacceptable risk if released.

The Attorney-General then appealed this decision to allow Fardon to live unsupervised.

The appeal was allowed after the Queensland Court of Appeal found the 70-year-old had a "prolonged period of past dangerousness" that could be a "powerful consideration" to extend the supervision order.

A new hearing was held, but lawyers for the Attorney-General could not convince the court to extend the supervision order.

The media and the public were blocked from the handing down of this final decision in court last week and the details of his release and the secret hearing were only released yesterday.

In dismissing the application to extend the 70-year-old's supervision order, the court relied on facts including that three psychiatrists found Fardon was a low risk of offending, was not a pedophile and had not been convicted in 30 years.

It also noted Fardon had been "moving about the community relatively freely, going on outings, to shops and going fishing, without any problems" over the last five years.

Child justice advocates and politicians were yesterday asking questions about why the release of Queensland's most notorious sex offender into the community was hidden from the public.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington described the lifting of his supervision order and the subsequent suppression order keeping the decision a secret for a week as unacceptable.

"I am deeply concerned that Fardon has been walking free on the streets for the last week and nobody could say anything. Queenslanders have a right to know," she said. "The public should be made well aware of where this sadistic thug is roaming."

She also slammed the secrecy surround how Fardon will be monitored going forward, including exactly how often he must report to police.

"The people of Queensland should be allowed to take some comfort from having the Government tell them what their plan is in relation to this serious sex offender," she said.

She blamed the Palaszczuk Government, saying he would still be under a strict dangerous sex offender supervision order if the LNP's laws had been passed last year when Labor pushed through its changes.

She said under Labor's plan the public were trusting Fardon "to report to police to say everything is OK".



Fardon pleads guilty to attempted carnal knowledge of a girl under 10. Gets a good behaviour bond.

Fardon rapes a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint and beats her sister. After being released on bail, he flees to the Northern Territory but is eventually recaptured.

Twenty days after his release, Fardon rapes and bashes a woman.

Becomes the first person in Queensland to be jailed indefinitely under the new Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act.

Released on a supervision order.

Breaches the order by visiting a school, breaking curfew and travelling to Townsville. Returns to prison briefly.

Arrested for raping a 61-year-old intellectually disabled woman. Convicted but conviction is quashed on appeal.

Released on supervision order after a hearing before Justice David Jackson

Court rejects application by the Attorney-General to extend Fardon's supervision order. But an appeal is successful, and
the case is sent back to the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Helen Bowskill orders Fardon's release.


Ms Frecklington said the saga strengthened the case for a public sex offender register.

Under Labor's new reporting regime, Fardon will have to report to police and disclose his address and details of a car, social media accounts, phone and internet details.

It is unknown how many times he must report to police, but by law it is a minimum of four times a year.

Police can apply for a further order, including GPS tracking, but only if they believe Fardon is displaying "concerning conduct" such as unlawful behaviour as well as "precursor or preparatory behaviours" they believe could lead to offences against children.

He can apply to the court in 2034 to have the reporting conditions lifted.

Acting Premier Cameron Dick faced questions about the court's lifting of the strict supervision conditions while Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath issued a written statement.

He insisted the suppression order was the court's idea and only supported by the Government at the behest of police for "operational reasons".

"Crown law, which represented the State, took advice from the Queensland Police Service and the advice and instructions from the Queensland Police Service was that it would be in the operational interests of the police service for that order to be made," Mr Dick said.

He said he had full confidence in the police to monitor Fardon.

"Our government is not on the side of grubs, we are on the side of victims and the community which is why this person will be monitored for the rest of his life," he said.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said the courts underestimated the "community fear" around sexual predators.

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