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'We have to live with this horror every day': Mother to groomer

Hazel Osborne,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Aug 2023, 4:23PM
the mother of one of the young victims said the man made their lives a living hell. Photo / 123rf
the mother of one of the young victims said the man made their lives a living hell. Photo / 123rf

'We have to live with this horror every day': Mother to groomer

Hazel Osborne,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Aug 2023, 4:23PM

The mother of a young teen victimised by a man she labelled a “manipulative paedophile” says they live with the horror of what he did every day.

However, while making her victim impact statement in court today she addressed the man who stole her child’s innocence, encouraging him to find a better life path.

“Don’t let this be who you are,” she told him.

The man, who has interim name suppression, was sentenced in the Wellington District Court to three years imprisonment on a raft of sexual offending charges.

The charges included multiple counts of meeting a young person following sexual grooming as well as having a sexual connection with young people.

He also faced charges of blackmail, possession of objectionable material, and supplying cannabis to young people.

His offending occurred last year, with some charges arising after the man had confessed to police about what he had done.

One victim, a transgender teenager, was encouraged by the man to sneak out of home at night, meeting him at a park where they would be given cannabis and alcohol for the first time before engaging in sex acts.

This would spark a habit of sneaking out at night, an act that would keep their mother up at night fearing for the young teen’s safety.

The victim said it was fun at first because it felt “grown-up” to sneak out of the house and consume alcohol, but the offending had seriously impacted them as they now found it hard to trust people.

“I feel used, and that people only want me for my body,” their victim impact statement said.

Their mother gave an emotional address to the court, and toward the man, saying he had robbed her vulnerable child of their innocence by manipulating and using them.

She said the man tricked her child into thinking he cared, “when really you were a manipulative paedophile.

“We have to live with this horror every day,” she told the court.

“You didn’t care about anyone but yourself and now we suffer as victims every day because of what you’ve done.”

Despite her pain and anger, the mother encouraged the man to choose a different life path, get help, and live a life he can be proud of.

Another young victim, a stranger to the man, had a picture of her face put on to a naked body by the man who then sent it to her. She said the “vindictive act by a random stranger” has changed her life forever.

The third young victim said although she had no physical injuries she was hurt on the inside.

“I am angry at the world all the time,” her statement read. “I feel like I don’t have emotions anymore, just anger. I’m shut off from the emotions of happy or sad.

“Because of him I always feel like I’m carrying a shameful secret on my shoulders. I wish that I was normal again.”

Crown prosecutor Harriett Farquar advocated for the man to receive a minimum term of imprisonment due to the “repeated and serious nature of the offending against young people”.

Farquar said the man posed a risk to the lives and safety of children, and the Crown opposed permanent name suppression.

Defence lawyer Letizea Ord said her client accepted prison was inevitable, but said he was ashamed, remorseful and committed to change.

“He is committed to ensuring that on his eventual release, he will not go down that path again,” Ord said.

Ord said her client was socially isolated, though still had support from his family, and sought permanent name suppression because he suffered from mental health issues.

Judge Bruce Davidson said the man contacted “young vulnerable victims” online via social media applications and arranged to meet.

He described the offending as serious, and the three victims as young and vulnerable.

Judge Davidson acknowledged the man’s difficult upbringing and the rehabilitative efforts he had made in tackling his issues with substance abuse, as well as psychological assistance.

“This shows it seems to me at age 27 you do have some insight into your offending,” Judge Davidson said.

The judge said it was clear the man had to continue addressing his rehabilitative needs, including substance abuse treatment, psychological treatment, and treatment under a sex offenders programme.

Judge Davidson declined to impose a minimum term of imprisonment, instead stating it would be up to the Parole Board to decide when the man would be released from prison.

The issue of permanent name suppression is to be addressed in submissions.

Hazel Osborne is an Open Justice reporter for NZME and is based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. She joined the Open Justice team at the beginning of 2022, previously working in Whakatāne as a court and crime reporter in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

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