Sex victim's life 'unbearable'

THE victim of a couple who abducted and sexually assaulted her told District Court in Grafton she could not take a shower without remembering her ordeal.

Robert Clarence Child, 45, and Caran Louise Everson, 43, abducted the victim, who cannot be identified, early last year. The pair pleaded guilty to charges of abduction and sexual assault on Monday.

The couple offered her a lift home but instead drove her to another place at least 40km away from her home, where they removed her clothes and subjected her to a series of humiliating assaults.

These included Everson touching her genitals and Child attempting to force the victim into oral sex by punching her twice in the stomach.

The woman only escaped her tormentors by striking Child on the head with a rock, then jumping into the river where she hid overnight while Child and Everson hunted for her.

In the morning she stumbled naked to a nearby farmhouse to get help.

“I don't like taking a shower. When I hear the sound of the running water it reminds me of the water running in the river,” she told the court.

The woman's legs trembled and her voice quavered as she read her victim's impact statement onto the record. In it she told the court how the ordeal had made life almost unbearable.

She said she was constantly fearful for herself and her children and even things like the sound of a passing car could trigger memories of her night of torture.

After her statement Child was called to the witness box.

The Crown made much of two earlier convictions for sexual offences, including one at Casino 20 years ago and another in 2005.

This latest offence occurred about six months after Child finished his three-and-a-half-year sentence for his 2005 conviction.

The Crown said the 1990 offence was similar in many respects to the latest offence.

In it Child offered a young woman a lift home, but instead abducted and raped her.

He said if the victim had not hit Child and escaped into the river, it was likely the same fate awaited her.

Child's defence said the offences, while serious, did not compare in terms of violence, time of detention and victim impact with some others.

He also claimed Child's planning for the abduction and assault had only been minimal.

He asked his client receive a sentence of no more than three years and that there should be some consideration put into alcohol counselling.

Everson also fronted court and her defence counsel tendered a statement in lieu of a pre-sentence report from Probation and Parole.

He said his client had been oblivious to the intentions of Child in abducting the victim.

She had also been willing to give evidence should a jury trial have been necessary.

He claimed Everson was under the influence of Child.

Judge McLoughlin will sentence the pair tomorrow.

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