Maggie Kirkpatrick, The FREAK from Prisoner, appeals against conviction on child sex offences

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A joke of a sentence for the freak, with all respect, had been married but known to be gay. Seeking to feed inner fantasy’s back in the day maybe? Either way took advantage of a young vulnerable girl

Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, appeals against conviction on child sex offences

21/08/15

Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick, who starred as “The Freak” in the hit television show Prisoner, has filed an appeal over her conviction on child sex offences committed 31 years ago.

Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences

Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences

Kirkpatrick, 74, was found guilty of two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a 14-year-old girl at Kirkpatrick’s Prahran home in 1984, after picking up the teenager from a psychiatric hospital.

Her lawyer said Kirkpatrick maintains her innocence.

The case is set to return to court on September 11.

Kirkpatrick was earlier given an 18-month community corrections order, meaning she would serve her sentence in the community, not prison.

The actor would also be required to complete 100 hours of community service and would be placed on the sex offenders’ register for eight years.

In sentencing, magistrate Peter Mealy said Kirkpatrick had shown no remorse for her actions.

“The victim here was a vulnerable 14-year-old child. The defendant would have known her to be especially vulnerable in view of her being an inpatient at a psychiatric [hospital],” he said.

“The defendant has had the opportunity of watching the unedifying spectacle of the [victim] recounting the offending and being subjected to extensive and vigorous cross examination.

“All along to this point the defendant showed no remorse instead simply protesting at a distance to, in her terms, the untrue and malicious allegations.”

The court was earlier told the victim had not reported the abuse until 2013 because she thought everyone would think she was crazy.

The court heard the teenager had organised a meeting with the actor through a person she met while admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Kew, in Melbourne’s inner east.

Kirkpatrick collected the girl from the hospital and then the pair went back to the actor’s home and shared a meal.

The court heard the pair then ended up in Kirkpatrick’s bedroom, where the abuse took place, before the girl was taken back to the hospital.

In a recorded police interview shown in court, Kirkpatrick maintained she had taken the girl home for dinner but did not abuse her.

She said she was giving the teenager “a day out” in an act of “kindness”.


Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences

Updated yesterday at 8:06pm

Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick, who starred as “The Freak” in the hit television show Prisoner, has been found guilty of child sex offences committed 31 years ago.

Kirkpatrick, 74, had denied the two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under 16.

The court was told on Wednesday that the victim, who cannot be named, was abused at Kirkpatrick’s Prahran home in 1984.

Kirkpatrick was well known for her role as a prison warden in the popular 1980s television series Prisoner.

Today, Magistrate Peter Mealy found her accuser was “a witness of truth”.

Kirkpatrick’s bail was extended and will now be assessed for a Community Corrections Order, meaning she is unlikely to be given a prison term.

She will be sentenced on Friday.

The court had earlier been told the victim had not reported the abuse until 2013 because she thought everyone would think she was crazy.

It was told the teenager had organised a meeting with the actor in 1984 through a person she met while admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Kew, in Melbourne’s inner east.

Kirkpatrick collected the girl from the hospital and then the pair went back to the actor’s home and shared a meal.

The pair then ended up in Kirkpatrick’s bedroom, where the alleged abuse took place, before the girl was taken back to the hospital.

Kirkpatrick told police charges were ‘false and malicious’

In a recorded police interview shown in court, Kirkpatrick said she had taken the girl home for dinner but did not abuse her.

She said she was giving the teenager “a day out” in an act of “kindness”.

She told police she had sent the girl away in a taxi after she caught her raiding her alcohol cabinet and “felt I should put a stop to it”.

Later in the interview said she “did not have anything to say other than they’re false and malicious in my mind”.

“These [accusations] are making me feel quite ill,” she told police.

A high school friend of the victim told the hearing that the girl was a “big fan” of the TV show at the time.

The husband of the victim said his wife had raised the abuse after she became uncomfortable during an “intimate” conversation.

“She told me that she’d been invited to a person’s place or a lady’s place and that person was the nasty one on Prisoner … she just said that … some sexual things happened but she didn’t elaborate,” he said.


Maggie Kirkpatrick: Alleged child sexual abuse victim of TV star had ‘Prisoner obsession’

Updated Wed at 5:20pm

The woman who has accused a star of the hit Australian television drama Prisoner of abusing her as a child was a “big fan” of the show, a Melbourne court has heard.

Maggie Kirkpatrick, 74, has denied two charges of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under 16.

She was well-known for her role as a prison warden nicknamed “The Freak” in the popular 1980s television series.

Detective Senior Constable Katherine Mitchell told the court the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police she had been abused by Kirkpatrick at the actor’s Prahran home when she was 14.

It allegedly took place in 1984.

In a statement read to the court, the alleged victim said she had not reported the abuse until two years ago because everyone would think she was crazy.

It said the victim had organised meeting the actor through a person she met while she had been admitted to the Newhaven psychiatric hospital in Kew.

It was alleged that Kirkpatrick collected the victim from the hospital and took her back to Kirkpatrick’s home, where they shared a meal.

She said the pair then ended up in Kirkpatrick’s bedroom, where the alleged abuse took place.

The victim said she was then given a yellow coloured jumper and a signed photograph and driven back to the hospital.

You have astonished me with those allegations… it’s beyond comprehension.

She also told police she recalled Kirkpatrick being most disappointed as she was not sexually experienced.

The court was shown Kirkpatrick’s videotaped police interview, in which she admitted taking the teenager back to her home for dinner but denied abusing her.

The actor said she sent the girl away in a taxi after she caught her raiding her alcohol cabinet.

“It was a kindness to give her a day out,” Kirkpatrick said during the interview.

“I then became a tad uncomfortable as while I was cooking and having a glass of wine, she decided to get into the alcohol in the dining room… I felt I should put a stop to it.”

Kirkpatrick initially waived her right not to answer any questions but later said she “did not have anything to say other than they’re false and malicious in my mind”.

“These [accusations] are making me feel quite ill,” she said.

“You have astonished me with those allegations… it’s beyond comprehension.”

Victim told husband of alleged abuse years later

A witness told the hearing that the alleged victim was a “big fan” of the TV show when she was a teenager.

The witness said she became high school friends with the alleged victim and remembered visiting her when she was in hospital.

She recalled the alleged victim telling her she had met Kirkpatrick.

“By my memory it was when she was at Newhaven and I don’t recall any of the particulars, just her making reference to it and her being very excited,” the witness said.

“The only thing I recall was an invitation [for her] to go somewhere … with Maggie.

“I remember that she was a big fan of the show and watched it religiously and would often refer to what she’d seen in the show, different episodes.”

The witness agreed with defence suggestions describing the alleged victim as having a “Prisoner obsession” and being a “Prisoner freak”.

The husband of the alleged victim told the court that his wife became uncomfortable during an “intimate” conversation they had in the mid 2000s.

“She told me that she’d been invited to a person’s place or a lady’s place and that person was the nasty one on Prisoner … she just said that … some sexual things happened but she didn’t elaborate,” he said.

Kirkpatrick did not comment to reporters outside court.

The hearing before Magistrate Peter Mealy is continuing.


 

Belle Gibson’s publisher has pulled her book from Australian shelves following accusations she faked her terminal brain cancer.


I SO WANTED TO LEAVE THIS BUT This saga keeps changing, there is no doubt now she faked much of her claims. The once award-winning young ladies life has come crashing down.

WE all fall from grace at one time or another in our life but this was of an epic scale, and the worst of the worst for cancer sufferers and survivors as well as supporters and family of those who are gone from our lives. her silence is deafening, but I hope other media come out as have Fairfax Media to state they have not paid anyone for any info on this story

(Which has been a big part of Belle’s rants since it broke. Saying others are making money off her now! )

Health blogger and app developer Belle Gibson hits back at ‘bullying’ critics
March 16, 2015 – 5:34AM

Allison Worral

Belle Gibson, creator of the app The Whole PantryBelle Gibson, creator of the app The Whole Pantry Photo: Jeffrey Glorfeld

Belle Gibson, the popular health blogger accused of falsely claiming to have cancer, has blasted her critics for speaking out against her.

Breaking her recent social media silence, Ms Gibson lashed out at former friends and acquaintances who had publicly doubted her claims of being ill, telling them to “make yourself invisible to me”.

The 23-year-old Melbourne woman founded health and wellbeing app The Whole Pantry, which has been under close scrutiny after it was revealed many of the charities the organisation had promised to donate to had not received any money.

Belle Gibson's book based around her The Whole Pantry app.

Belle Gibson’s book based around her The Whole Pantry app.

The Whole Pantry app, along with a Penguin book of the same name, promoted healthy living and Ms Gibson boasted natural foods and alternative therapies had fought off the multiple cancers she claimed to suffer.

But serious questions have been raised over the entrepreneur’s claims of surviving terminal brain cancer without treatment, as well as being diagnosed with four other types of cancer.

Former friends and work colleagues have accused Ms Gibson of lying about the extent of her illness, with some suggesting she may not have cancer at all.

On Friday night Ms Gibson hit back in a rambling Facebook post, sarcastically encouraging her followers to speak to the media if they needed to because “it says more about you, and your priorities than me or the story you’ll get paid to tell”.

Ms Gibson, who wrote of being “bullied to my death”, went on to defend the work of The Whole Pantry.

“…I know the work my company and it’s [sic] contents did changed hundreds of thousands for the better,” she wrote.

In another post she said those who had spoken publicly about her were “knowingly contributing to the blatant attacking and bullying of myself and my family”.

The Melbourne mother did not disprove claims she had lied about or exaggerated having cancer but promised an “open letter” was on its way.

Ms Gibson’s latest comments, posted under a Facebook alias, follow the recent removal of thousands of posts on her social media accounts.

Fairfax Media has not paid anyone for information about Belle Gibson


Whole Pantry cookbook PULLED from the shelves by Penguin after publisher casts doubt on health guru Belle Gibson’s brain cancer survival story

  • Penguin Books have decided to pull her book from Australian shelves
  • Blogger Belle Gibson, 23, is accused of faking her terminal brain cancer
  • She claimed eating well and using a natural approach to life saved her
  • Ms Gibson launched successfully popular The Whole Pantry app and book
  • More than 300,000 angry fans and customers have demanded a refund
  • They have taken to the company’s Facebook page to make a stand 
  • Her friends raised doubts about her survival story and charity donations
  • Former school mates have labelled the 23-year-old as a ‘drama queen’ 

Belle Gibson’s publisher has pulled her book from Australian shelves following accusations she faked her terminal brain cancer.

Penguin Books – who publishes Ms Gibson’s The Whole Pantry recipe book – shared the news with Daily Mail Australia via an email statement on Monday.

The book was written in conjunction with her hugely successful app of the same name, which focuses on health, wellness and lifestyle.

Australian blogger Belle Gibson (seen, left, with a bottle of champagne) has hit out at those who have accused her survival story of being fake

Clean-living Belle Gibson, seen here with a pint in her hand, told the friends who have spoken out about her to ‘make yourself invisible to me, and my life’

‘Despite our best endeavours, Penguin Books has not received sufficient explanation from Ms Gibson, author of The Whole Pantry recipe book, in response to recent allegations,’ the publisher said.

‘As such, we have been left with no other option but to stop supplying the book in Australia.

‘We remain hopeful that we will receive the formal assurances we have requested in the coming days.’

This follows Ms Gibson hitting back at the friends who have spoken publicly about her as old photos emerged of her enjoying alcohol.

In a long Facebook post, the Australian blogger told those who have spoken out about her to ‘make yourself invisible to me, and my life.’

The health fanatic shot to social media fame after claiming she had managed to ward off a terminal brain cancer diagnosis simply through eating well and using a natural and holistic approach to life.

Young mum: Close friends told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday that Ms Gibson may have departed Australia for the United States this week

Back in July 2013, Ms Gibson posted on The Whole Pantry Facebook page about her ‘severe and malignant brain cancer’

Ms Gibson gave hope to cancer sufferers worldwide after she revealed that she had prolonged her life despite shunning conventional medical treatment and relying on her own ‘whole life’ concept.

But after doubt was cast over her claims, the Sydney Morning Herald reported she wrote to her friends on Facebook this weekend: ‘You are knowingly contributing to the blatant attacking and bullying of myself and my family.’

‘You’re not making the world an any (sic) better place by choosing to become part of the latest media snowball, remember that.’

Meanwhile, photos have emerged on Facebook of Ms Gibson holding a bottle of champagne to her mouth and sipping on a pint of beer before she became a clean-living star.

Social media users attempting to ‘expose’ Ms Gibson have begun posting images and old claims about her cancer on Facebook.

On Friday, she stood by her projects, writing: ‘…I know the work my company and it’s [sic] contents did changed hundreds of thousands for the better.’

On the same day, thousands of angry customers who bought healthy living app and book The Whole Pantry are demanding their money back after finding out founder Ms Gibson’s cancer story could be false.

Taking to The Whole Pantry’s Facebook page, some of the 300,000 people who downloaded the app have called for their money to be refunded and have slammed the mother-of-one for misleading her followers.

‘Lies, Lies and more Lies. I demand a refund,’ one unhappy customer said.

‘What kind of person fakes illnesses for attention. She has mental health issues and needs help. It scares me to think how many people have died following her natural therapy cancer treatment diet/lifestyle. Disgusting,’ another Facebook commenter said.

Ms Gibson has deleted thousands of photos and social media posts which directly reference her multiple cancer diagnoses, but an example of them – seen by Daily Mail Australia – can be found below:

Back in July 2013, Ms Gibson posted on The Whole Pantry Facebook page: ‘It’s unfortunate that there is someone on my Instagram trying to discredit the natural healing path I am on.’

She went on to say: ‘As always, with everything, this is my journey and I encourage you to do what is best for your body and situation with love and an open mind.

‘I have been healing a severe and malignant brain cancer for the past few years with natural medicine, gerson therapy and foods.

‘It’s working for me and I am grateful to be here sharing this journey with over 70,000 people worldwide. Thank you for being here – xx Belle.’

In a reference to her liver cancer, she posted on Instagram under her account @healing_belle, a photo of a pink smoothie enriched with ‘extra support’.

‘This one is for my rash (thanks, liver cancer), inflammation (thanks flying) and for general immunity.’

In another Instagram post she wrote: ‘Going from 6 weeks to live, to celebrating my fourth year with brain cancer, I know now that respecting your own journey and intuitively healing, listening and living as YOUR body, mind and path intended is staple.’

In July 2014, she broke the news of further illness to her followers through an impassioned post to her personal Instagram page.

It read in part: ‘With frustration and ache in my heart // my beautiful, gamechanging community, it hurts me to find space tonight to let you all know with love and strength that I’ve been diagnosed with a third and fourth cancer.

‘One is secondary and the other is primary. I have cancer in my blood, spleen, brain, uterus, and liver. I am hurting,’ Ms Gibson wrote.

About 12 weeks after the initial post she followed up, revealing she was undergoing ‘German integrative oncology protocol’.

The Whole Pantry (pictured above, in cookbook form) is also a popular app, which costs $3.79 to download. The app is slated to appear on the new Apple Watch

The Whole Pantry (pictured above, in cookbook form) is also a popular app, which costs $3.79 to download. The app is slated to appear on the new Apple Watch

The Whole Pantry founder's stories are being questioned as people demand answers from the health guru

The Whole Pantry founder’s stories are being questioned as people demand answers from the health guru

Many others called for the entrepreneur to face up to her lies and do the right thing. Questions have also been raised about her donations to charity.

She told her social media followers last year her brain cancer had spread to her blood, liver, spleen, uterus and that she did not expect to survive.

It has been reported that Ms Gibson has met with lawyers to fight the claims her story is fake.

School friends of the under-fire Whole Pantry founder now query whether the health guru invented stories ‘to get sympathy’ and have told how she warned people against vaccination while she was in high school.

Ms Gibson attended Wynnum State High School in Brisbane and former classmates describe the health guru as a ‘drama queen’ who constantly reinvented herself and backed medical cannabis. 

Former school friend Chris Green said Ms Gibson was ‘a drama queen. There was always something going on with her.’

‘At one stage she was an emo, then a skater girl then she was a surfer chick; she was always something different,’ Mr Green told The Courier Mail.

Mr Green also said that Ms Gibson never mentioned an autistic brother or a mother with multiple sclerosis, who she had previously claimed to be a carer for.

One anonymous school friend said that Ms Gibson would often post information advocating against vaccinations and pushed the viewpoint quite hard.

Former classmate Meg Weier said that Ms Gibson was quite strange.

Doting mother: Ms Gibson, pictured with another friend, founded the popular app and cookbook Whole Pantry

In another Instagram post she wrote: 'Going from 6 weeks to live, to celebrating my fourth year with brain cancer'

In another Instagram post she wrote: ‘Going from 6 weeks to live, to celebrating my fourth year with brain cancer’

Young mother: Ms Gibson, the mother of Olivier (pictured) has established a successful business in Whole Pantry

Young mother: Ms Gibson, the mother of Olivier (pictured) has established a successful business in Whole Pantry

Jayme Smith (pictured left, with her two children) met Belle Gibson online and maintained a friendship over social media until they had a falling out

Friends close to the mum-of-one have said that she may have gone overseas to avoid confronting claims that her remarkable cancer survival story is not all it seems.

Another former friend of Ms Gibson has called on her to ‘come clean’ on her ‘misdiagnosis’.

Mother-of-two Jayne Smith, 28, from Sydney, became a confidant of Ms Gibson’s after they met on a parenting discussion page on Facebook around 2010.

They forged an online friendship and confided over their experiences with cancer – Ms Smith having lost her mother to lung cancer in 2003 and Ms Gibson saying she had brain cancer.

BY THE NUMBERS: THE WHOLE PANTRY

  • Over 300,000 people have downloaded the app since its release 
  • The company failed to donate $300,000 that was promised to charities
  • The app costs $3.79AUD in Australia
  • Last year it was announced the app will be presented on the Apple Watch, which will come out on April 24, 2015 in Australia

Ms Smith told Daily Mail Australia she was ‘baffled’ when reports emerged this week where friends raised doubts about Ms Gibson’s medical diagnoses and charity donations.

‘I am just so shocked and I feel betrayed, that we all fell so hard for the illusion that she created,’ Ms Smith said.

‘It has hit all of us, who I know, (who) also know Belle, like a tonne of bricks.’

‘We only knew her online, but we all believed to a point that she was a genuine pioneer, who was surviving aggressive cancer.

‘Belle and I talked quite a bit about my feelings about (cancer), how she could empathise with me, the feelings I felt about my mother dying and how I’d wished I was more responsible when it happened, that I’d wished I had tried to explore more ideas, like Belle did.’

Ms Smith said Ms Gibson ‘pushed’ – and nearly convinced her – not to vaccinate her children, but that she did not blame her for nearly making that choice, which she ‘backed out of at the last minute’.

‘That was my own choice, based on information provided by Belle. I regret that choice (to nearly not vaccinate), but it was my own. I’m not here to place blame.’

In November 2014, Ms Gibson told Sunday Style magazine she blamed the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil for her cancer.

After friends and medical experts cast doubt on her medical claims in various media stories this week, Ms Gibson told The Australian she may have been ‘misdiagnosed’.

‘It’s hard to admit that maybe you were wrong,’ she told the newspaper, adding that she was ‘confused, bordering on humiliated’.

In a reference to her liver cancer, she posted on Instagram under her account @healing_belle, a photo of a pink smoothie enriched with 'extra support'

In a reference to her liver cancer, she posted on Instagram under her account @healing_belle, a photo of a pink smoothie enriched with ‘extra support’

The Whole Pantry, a popular app, gained media attention because of Ms Gibson's remarkable story about cancer survival 

The Whole Pantry, a popular app, gained media attention because of Ms Gibson’s remarkable story about cancer survival 

The company she founded, The Whole Pantry, said donations to charities that allegedly failed to arrive had been ‘accounted for and not processed’ and that promised donations ‘would be honoured’.

Ms Smith told Daily Mail Australia she was ‘baffled’ by this week’s allegations and was most upset about the hope Ms Gibson’s followers had invested in her program if she was being dishonest.

She said Ms Gibson had the ‘gift of the gab’ and ‘needs to answer to these people (her followers), because they are good hearted people who deserve answers’.

‘I don’t care about exposing Belle. I haven’t spoken to her for months, years.

‘I just want her to confirm or deny (her diagnoses) so people who put their faith in her, invested in her – they need to know.

‘They need to know, if they’ve rejected conventional medicine on what she’s saying.

‘It’s their lives, it’s not a game.’

Belle Gibson: the entrepreneur behind The Whole Pantry app

Ms Smith said of Belle Gibson (above): 'If I saw Belle now, I would just ask her to tell the truth. That's all I want'

Ms Smith said of Belle Gibson (above): ‘If I saw Belle now, I would just ask her to tell the truth. That’s all I want’

Ms Gibson wrote about how she chose a cancer patient called Joshua to 'donate 100% of app sales to' 

Ms Gibson wrote about how she chose a cancer patient called Joshua to ‘donate 100% of app sales to’ 

After three years of sometimes personal exchanges online, Ms Gibson and Ms Smith stopped talking after the development of the Whole Pantry app.

‘If I saw Belle now, I would just ask her to tell the truth. That’s all I want.

‘I don’t want to see her beg people for mercy. I don’t want her to beg for forgiveness – I just want the truth.

‘Come clean, be transparent, let the world know where you’re at. If you were misdiagnosed, own up to it.

‘Belle DID create an exceptional application, that is loved by many, but I think she should sell it for what it is, complimentary medicines and a diet – not life saving treatment.

‘All people want is the truth from her.’

Close friends told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday that Ms Gibson may have left for the United States. Police visited her home on Tuesday night to check on her welfare, but she was not there.

Multiple calls to Ms Gibson’s mobile rang out.

IN TWEETS, BELLE GIBSON DESCRIBED HERSELF AS A ‘DISTINGUISHED PHYSCOPATH’ (SIC)

Amid claims that the entrepreneur behind The Whole Pantry app has fled to country, more details about Belle Gibson’s past are coming to light.

The young social media personality – who came under fire after claims her ‘terminal cancer’ and incredible survival story from the life-threatening illness were false – once described herself as a psychopath.

Ms Gibson has previously gone under the name of Annabelle Natalie Gibson, and tweeted in 2009: @bellmneb: ‘Is a distinguished physcopath (sic),’ the Herald Sun reported.

The next month she sent another tweet, from the account which appears to have been removed.

‘Obama won the nobel peace prize. This is more f***ed then (sic) the government giving me cancer. #obamawinsnobelprize,’ it read.

SA court jails piano teacher Anthony Theodore Vance for five years for abusing three girls


SA court jails piano teacher Anthony Theodore Vance for five years for abusing three girls

Anthony Theodore Vance has been jailed for his persistent sexual exploitation of three ch

Anthony Theodore Vance has been jailed for his persistent sexual exploitation of three children.

HIS deviant actions left little girls feeling like prisoners of their secret, but today predatory music teacher Anthony Theodore Vance became a prisoner himself.

Vance, 76, was today jailed for five years, and will spend at least three years behind bars, for his persistent sexual exploitation of girls as young as five.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Michael Boylan said Vance deserved “stern punishment” because he had shown no remorse and continued to insist his victims were liars.

“One of your victims very eloquently described one of the effects of sexual abuse … she said she was a prisoner of her secret,” Judge Boylan said.

“That’s a very eloquent way of describing how the victims of sexual abuse feel — prisoners, cut off from others, alone, unable to trust other people.

“The courts have often said these offences must be sternly punished, and you have three victims, no insight and committed a serious breach of trust.”

Vance, of Christies Beach, was found guilty at trial of three counts of the persistent exploitation of a child.

Between 2004 and 2007 he touched the upper thighs and genitalia of three girls — aged between five and 10 years old — while teaching them to play the piano or electric keyboard.

During their evidence, the girls said the inappropriate touching occurred “nearly every lesson”.

In sentencing today, Judge Boylan agreed Vance’s offending was “less serious” compared with many sexual abuse cases — but said that was no reason for clemency.

“You have still damaged these girls … they have suffered much, and will continue to suffer much, as a result of what you did to them,” he said.

“I can give you no discount (on your sentence) because you continue to assert that the three girls have told lies.”

He imposed a five-year jail term with a three-year non-parole period, saying there were no grounds upon which to suspend the sentence.

Disturbing claims of abuse heard at Royal Commission into Knox Grammar School


Knox School cared about one thing, their reputation. 30 years later staff and ex staff still will not admit so, it beggars belief listening to some of the answers as to why they did not react to anything relating to abuse and scandal by going outside the school…keep it all in-house was the mantra

Pathetic and they should be ashamed hiding behind their credentials all these years later.

http://www.news.com.au/video/id-xhNHFwczrKxwqVr756pbVMvz4P4WQPPg/Headmaster%27s-astonishing-defence


UPDATED 03/03/15

The messiah takes the stand

The messiah and KING Former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson

The messiah and KING Former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson

Live feed to hearings here

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/6202742a-5e8d-490b-bec4-84876bef3de0/case-study-23,-february-2015,-sydney


No bloody wonder he wanted to make his statement up front. It would of sounded ridiculous had he done it after his evidence and the commission is finished with him (back on the stand tomorrow)

Very cagey in his answers, instant recall to his achievements and foggy for all the abuse. Disgrace who needs his bestowed Honours removed asap!

Very cagey in his answers, instant recall to his achievements and foggy for all the abuse. Disgrace who needs his bestowed Honours removed asap!

Former Knox Grammar principal Ian Paterson fronts Royal Commission

Former Knox principal’s apology to sex abuse victims

Former Knox principal's apology to sex abuse victims

THE former headmaster accused of covering up child sexual abuse admitted he gave a glowing reference to a religious teacher who resigned after he was seen masturbating outside another school.

Ian Paterson, head of prestigious Sydney boys’ school Knox Grammar from 1969 to 1998, told today’s hearing the reference he gave Chris Fotis was “grossly inappropriate”.

Fotis, a Knox old boy, had been hired without any reference check and had prior child-sex convictions. He left the school in 1989, by which time Dr Paterson was aware of a string of complaints against him.

Dr Paterson giving evidence at the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney.

Dr Paterson giving evidence at the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia

One was that he was suspected of donning a balaclava, hiding under a dormitory bed and groping a 14-year-old boy.

The school’s duty master Stuart Pearson told Dr Paterson that Fotis had been convicted of sexually assaulting two girls before he joined Knox and that he was verbally abusing boys.

Dr Paterson gave Fotis a reference describing him as “enthusiastic for his job” and “meticulous in the standards he requires from students”.

Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Fotis, who failed to appear when he was called last week.

Dr Paterson revealed earlier today that he had not reported another teacher for molesting a boy because he was “not aware it was a crime”. He said it did not enter his head to report the balaclava incident.

“It never entered any one of our heads,” he said, referring to duty master Mr Pearson and Tim Hawkes, the housemaster in charge of the Mac Neil boarding house where the incident happened.

Dr Ian Paterson is giving evidence.

The head is accused of covering up decades of child-sex abuse. Source: News Corp Australia

Dr Paterson said he now agreed police should have been called. He denied ever telling the boys that the intruder was an Asian man who had been arrested.

When pressed by counsel advising the commission David Lloyd, Dr Paterson said: “I can assure you that controlling the reputation of the school never once entered my head.”

The head, who is accused of covering up child sexual abuse at Knox Grammar over three decades, earlier admitted to ignoring a student’s claim he had been abused by a teacher and described his as “a drama boy” who was known to “exaggerate stories”.

He confronted the claims today at the Royal Commission into Institution Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, amid new explosive accusations he engaged in abuse at the school himself.

Dr Paterson admitted a 15-year-old student had complained to him about a teacher, Damien Vance, touching him inappropriately in 1987, and the then headmaster told him to think about the allegations.

Purple ribbons tied to the gates of Knox Grammar following revelations of widespread paed

Purple ribbons tied to the gates of Knox Grammar following revelations of widespread paedophilia at the prestigious school. Picture: @concernedknox Source: Twitter

“The boy was a drama boy,” he told the Sydney hearing. “He was known as rather dramatical boy who could build up situations … I asked him to think about what I said.”

The former headmaster began his admissions to the Royal Commission expressing “deep regret” over years of abuse.

“I should have known, and I should have stopped the events that led to the abuse of those boys in my care and their families,” the former headmaster told the hearing in Sydney.

“My abject failure to secure for you a safe and secure place at Knox strikes at the very heart of a responsibility of a headmaster.”

In his opening address, Dr Paterson said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry”, and acknowledged that his decisions were wrong.

“This is a source of intense pain for myself and my family,” he said.

Dr Paterson’s appearance at the commission has been delayed since Friday as more witnesses came forward.

The Commission was rocked yesterday with a shock allegation from Lucy Perry, a high profile charity CEO who claims she was groped by Mr Paterson as a schoolgirl.

Lucy Perry was a surprise witness at the hearing yesterday.

Lucy Perry was a surprise witness at the hearing yesterday. Source: News Corp Australia

Ms Perry told the hearing into the elite Sydney boy’s school that Mr Paterson groped her in 1989 when she was part of a musical being produced by her school Roseville, and Knox Grammar.

Ms Perry who is chief executive of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia), said the assault happened in full view of students at the Knox school hall, and the boys who saw it “roared with approval”.

She reported the assault to NSW police in 2009 when numerous allegations about widespread sexual abuse at the school were coming out.

Ms Perry said at one of the rehearsals she was backstage talking to some of the boys at a production of Guys and Dolls when Dr Paterson pointed to her and one of the boys and said “you and you out”.

Lucy Perry leaves the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission.

Lucy Perry leaves the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission. Source: News Corp Australia

Despite this she turned up at the next rehearsal and Dr Paterson, who was the producer, singled her out.

As she walked to the edge of the stage “he placed his hand on my backside. I would describe it as between a pat and a grope”. “He then slid his hand right down to cup my buttocks and (I) felt him touch my genitals outside of my clothing”.

She said he had a creepy look on his face.

When asked by Jim Harrowell, a solicitor representing Dr Paterson, if he was just positioning her on the stage she said: “I would suggest to you Mr Harrowell that positioning girls by their bottoms is not the best way to do that”.

She received a standing ovation from Knox victims and their supporters as she left the hearing.

Along with being pressed on the new allegations, Mr Paterson is expected to be asked what he told students about a balaclava-wearing intruder who molested a 14-year-old boy.

Much of the inquiry, which is now in its second week, has concerned an incident in late 1988 when an intruder wearing a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava hid under a boy’s bed and tried to molest him in the early hours of the morning.

Stuart Pearson, the former general duties master at the school and a former policeman said a few days after the incident Dr Paterson told the boys police had arrested an “Asian man” for the break-in.

Image show purple ribbons have been tied to the gates of Knox Grammar to show support for

Image show purple ribbons have been tied to the gates of Knox Grammar to show support for victims. Pic: Twitter / @concernedknox Source: Twitter

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse can find no record that police were ever contacted and on Monday a former student told the commission he recalled Dr Paterson saying the intruder was an “old boy” with mental problems.

Other witnesses have pointed the finger at Chris Fotis, a former teacher who is now being sought by police after the commission summoned him to appear.


 Royal commission into sex abuse: seven key Knox Grammar figures
March 3, 2015 – 1:53PM

THE PLAYERS

Five Knox teachers were convicted of multiple sex charges and one is wanted by police. These seven people are the key figures in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sex Abuse.

CONVICTED: Adrian John Nisbett (above)

Popular English teacher who worked at the school from 1971-2004. Arrested over sexual offences in 2009 and given a suspended sentence. Current principal John Weeks told the royal commission in February 2015 he believed former head master Ian Paterson was covering for Nisbett and wanted to sack him when he became headmaster. Nisbett was allowed to resign. Unable to be summonsed, he now lives in South Africa and is working for a cheetah conservation reserve in Namibia.

CONVICTED: Damian Vance (above)

English and French teacher who was asked to leave the school two years after indecently assaulting a student. Royal commission told Vance received a glowing reference from the school praising his teaching skills, despite having indecently assaulted one student and physically assaulted two others. Arrested in 2009, convicted and released on a good behaviour bond. Told the commission he had previously hit two boys at the school, in 1985 and 1986. Now a cleaner in Melbourne.

CONVICTED: Roger James

Science teacher between 1974-77. Resigned to take up a teaching position in New Zealand. Arrested for sex offences in 2009, convicted and given a suspended sentence. A 14-year-old victim told the royal commission in March 2015 he did not complain about the abuse at the time because of the culture of cover-up at the school. Boys who did speak up were “victimised and ostracised,” he said. “They were seen as weak and they became everybody’s bitch.”

CONVICTED: Craig Treloar (above)

Knox old boy. Resident master and teacher; taught at the school from 1982 until his arrest in 2009. Treloar was convicted on multiple charges of child sex abuse in 2010 and served two years in jail.  Denied to the royal commission in February 2015 he forced children to perform sex acts with him, saying that he allowed the boys to touch him. Said he was shocked when he wasn’t sacked after the pornography claims surfaced. Now unemployed.

CONVICTED: Barrie Stewart

Music teacher and “notorious groper”. Arrested in 2009, convicted of multiple counts of indecent assault and sexual assault relating to seven students. Given a suspended sentence. Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul told the commission in February 2015 his son David was molested by Stewart.

HEADMASTER: Dr Ian Paterson (above)

Principal of Knox Grammar from 1969 until 1998. Students referred to him as “the snake”.  Allegations to the royal commission that Dr Paterson had knowledge of abuse and even allegedly signed a reference letter for one of the teachers he knew was involved. Accused in March 2015 by Roseville Ladies College student Lucy Perry of sexual abuse backstage at a school performance in 1989 when she was 16. Paterson told the royal commission on March 3 he didn’t know it was illegal to sexually proposition a student and that he was an ‘abject failure’. The commission has heard there is no evidence he referred any sex abuse matters to the police. 

ARREST WARRANT: Christopher Fotis (above)

Religious education instructor, pictured above, suspected of being the so-called “balaclava man” who assaulted a year 8 boy in his bed at a school boarding house in 1988 that was under the supervision of Dr Timothy Hawkes (below), now head of the Kings School. Fotis was arrested in 1989 for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school in North Ryde. Dr Paterson provided Fotis with a reference letter in which he described him as an “enthusiast”. Warrant issued for his arrest in February 2015 for failure to appear at the royal commission. Whereabouts unknown since mid-February 2015.

TIMELINE

1924: Knox Grammar School first established as a Presbyterian Church School.

1969: Dr Ian Paterson becomes headmaster.

1970s: Allegation of “inappropriate behaviour” first surface, involving teachers Barrie Stewart, Roger James and Adrian Nisbett. Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul weeps  as he tells the royal commission about the discovery his son, David, was molested by Knox music teacher Barrie Stewart in the late 1970s.

1980s: Rumours of sexual abuse circulate more widely.

1986Christopher Fotis employed as religious education instructor despite having convictions for assaulting a female and offensive behaviour.

1987: Craig Treloar disciplined for watching hardcore pornography, including paedophilia and bestiality, with boys but allowed to keep his job.  Damian Vance indecently assaults a boy in a room under the chapel. Stuart Pearson reports Treloar to Dr Paterson after a boy alleged the teacher had propositioned him for sex. Pearson told the royal commission in February 2015 he was “gobsmacked” Treloar and Nisbett were working at the school years after he reported them to Paterson.

1988: A masked man, believed to be Fotis, sexually assaults a boy in his bed in a boarding house at the school.

1989: Vance asked to leave. Fotis asked to leave later that year after being caught masturbating outside a school in North Ryde. Headmaster Ian Paterson alleged to have sexually abused 16-year-old Roseville Ladies College student Lucy Perry backstage.

1990s: Sixteen-year-old student ATQ forms a sexual relationship with his resident housemaster. Warns another housemaster that Knox is a “paedophile ring” but nothing done in response.

1999: New principal Peter Crawley initiates investigation into Adrian Nisbett.

2009: Nisbett, Treloar, Stewart, James and Vance arrested and later convicted of multiple sex charges.

Emails tendered in evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse reveal an unnamed solicitor had recommended the destruction of documents in 2009, following the arrests of the five teachers who abused children.

More info here, exhibits, transcripts and witness lists http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/6202742a-5e8d-490b-bec4-84876bef3de0/case-study-23,-february-2015,-sydney

February 26, 2015 1:16PM

Child abuse cover-up?

Child abuse cover-up?

A FORMER teacher at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar school has failed to appear at a royal commission into child abuse.

The commission has issued a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Fotis, who was due to give evidence on Tuesday.

A public hearing this week has heard disturbing claims of abuse at Knox, which happened in the 1970s and 80s. Boys at one of Australia’s most exclusive schools were allegedly shown pornography, given alcohol and groomed for sex by a number of teachers at the school.

On Thursday David Lloyd, counsel advising the commission, said police were searching for Fotis and if he was found he would be brought to the commission.

Fotis was never charged with offences at Knox but was jailed in Melbourne for sexual abuse offences at a school there after his time at Knox, in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore.

The inquiry into the NSW private boys’ school is focusing on an incident in 1988 at one of the boarding houses, MacNeil House, when a person wearing a Knox tracksuit and balaclava hid under a child’s bed and sexually assaulted him.

Mr Lloyd said although the person’s face was concealed by the balaclava a number of the boys in the dormitory believed the offender was Fotis.

Former students have also alleged abuse by other teachers happened in dimly-lit music rehearsals. One of the teachers was still working at the school when he was arrested in 2009.

The expensive private school, whose old boys include judges, politicians such as the late Gough Whitlam and actors Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving, faced adverse publicity in 2009 when four teachers pleaded guilty to abusing students.

One “notorious molester” had memorial gates erected in his honour with the inscription “He touched us all”, the inquiry was told.

Prestigious: Hugh Jackman was a former student at the prestigious Knox Grammar. There is

Prestigious: Hugh Jackman was a former student at the prestigious Knox Grammar. There is no suggestion he was abused. Source: Supplied

In his opening statement on Monday, Mr Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore were convicted of sex offences against students. There would be allegations of abuse by a further three teachers who were never charged, he said.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will examine the response of the Uniting Church and Knox between 1970 and 2012 to concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students at the school.

Evidence has been given that paedophiles were allowed to continue working at Knox even after a string of complaints and some witnesses claimed there was a paedophile ring at the school.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

DISTURBING DETAILS

One former student Scott Ashton, 44 told the commission he was nine when he went to the prestigious school. From the start he was abused “openly and brazenly” by teacher Barrie Stewart.

Mr Ashton gave evidence on Tuesday and said he remembers bleeding from his rectum when Stewart used his finger to molest him.

Some of the abuse happened at dimly-lit music rehearsals where Stewart also abused other boys.

In 2009 Stewart was convicted of five counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. He was given a suspended sentence.

Lives ruined: Former student Scott Ashton with friend Gretel Pinniger (left) and lawyer L

Lives ruined: Former student Scott Ashton with friend Gretel Pinniger (left) and lawyer Leigh Johnson (right). Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Ashton also told of depression, confusion and substance abuse since leaving Knox. He ended up working in the sex industry.

He said he was already fragile when he arrived at Knox as his two-year-old brother had been killed after they were both hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing. The other students beat him up and tried to get him to say he was responsible for his brother’s death

Mr Ashton was too distraught to read his own statement to the commission. It was read instead by his friend, Gretel Pinniger, also known as the high profile Sydney dominatrix Madame Lash.

Mr Ashton was also deeply confused by the attitude at the school where all were expected to pay tribute to an art teacher Bruce Barrett who had died young.

Mr Ashton said Barrett was a “notorious molester” but the school put up memorial gates at the back entrance to the Wahroonga school in his honour and bearing the inscription: “He touched us all”.

Another witness, Coryn Tambling, said he was abused by Craig Treloar in 1984 when he was at Knox. He said the teacher showed him and other boys pornographic videos one of which was a “homosexual gang bang involving teenage boys”.

Shocking allegations of abuse at prestigious boys school Knox Grammar.

Shocking allegations of abuse at prestigious boys school Knox Grammar. Source: Supplied

The teacher would reassure the boys and tell them it was OK to be homosexual, he said.

“Treloar also told me he was part of a group in Kings Cross that made these movies and he would secure me a part in a movie if I wanted.” He said he showed the boys business receipts from the Kings Cross company.

Treloar was sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with two years non-parole in 2009 and is now out. He will give evidence at this royal commission hearing.

MAN IN A BALACLAVA

Counsel for the commission David Lloyd, said witnesses would give evidence that a number of boys in one of the boarding houses were abused by a man in a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava.

One witness will say he awoke one morning when he was in year 8 to find the “balaclava man” sexually assaulting him.

Mr Lloyd said that although the person’s face was concealed by a balaclava, a number of the boys in the dormitory believed it was Christopher Fotis.

The school investigated and the boys were later told the “balaclava man” was a young Asian man who had been arrested by police.

Mr Lloyd said there was no evidence to suggest the NSW Police were ever notified of the incident, either as a break-and-enter or as an assault.

He also said “despite the paucity of contemporaneous documents it is anticipated that there will be evidence that senior people at Knox knew about the allegations of abuse” at the time.

Man wearing a balaclava and Knox tracksuit allegedly abused boys at Knox. Picture: Troy S

Man wearing a balaclava and Knox tracksuit allegedly abused boys at Knox. Picture: Troy Snook Source: News Corp Australia

LIVES RUINED

A former teacher at Knox Grammar broke down as he laid the blame for his son’s ill health and early death squarely on the school he once respected.

John Rentoul, whose son David died aged 44 after a series of illnesses, said he only found out in 2009 that his son had been abused by teacher Barrie Stewart.

Dr Rentoul only found out about the abuse when David, who was at the school in the late 1970s, was giving evidence against Stewart.

“I was shocked and outraged when David told us of the abuse,” said Dr Rentoul, who taught at the school from 1969 to 1980. He became emotional as he told how his son revealed he felt terribly ashamed and guilty because Stewart was a family friend and this led him to hide the abuse for 30 years.

Former Knox teacher Barrie Stewart at the Hornsby local court.

Former Knox teacher Barrie Stewart at the Hornsby local court. Source: News Limited

“I absolutely believe that the extreme stress, guilt and shame David suffered as a result of the abuse directly lead to his health issues and also resulted in his marital problems.” He said his son’s immune system was compromised by prolonged and sustained periods of post traumatic stress and he could not fight a lung infection which led to organ failure.

Dr Rentoul said the family had welcomed Stewart as an excellent teacher and arranged for him to give David piano lessons.

He said they believed the commission should ensure that “institutions such as Knox be held accountable for failing to protect its students against sexual predators”.

Dr Rentoul also said “private schools are more susceptible to instances of sexual abuse because of more opportunities for the development of close relationships between teachers and students during extra-curricular activities, and because of the prevalence of boarding establishments”.

Another mother also told of the impacts of the abuse on her son, who has been given the pseudonym ATS. Her son started at the school in 2002 when he was 10 years old.

She said her son was very happy for the first term but then changed — he became quiet and withdrawn. He refused to talk to his parents, became angry and hostile and self-harmed before being hospitalised after a serious suicide attempt.

When he was 14, her son told a psychiatrist that he had been abused by former teacher Craig Treloar, who used to invite boys to his room and offer them ginger beer. Her son would later say things to her like “’Treloar tried it on lots and lots of times, but only got it once’”.

Counsel Assist David Lloyd at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child

Counsel Assist David Lloyd at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing into Knox Grammar School. Photo Jeremy Piper/ Oculi Source: News Corp Australia

She said she took this to mean that Treloar was constantly sexually harassing her son.

When ATS was 16 he was offered a professional rugby contract with Gordon Rugby Club, but he could not go through with it.

ATS, now 22, lives in Canada — he cannot bear to live in Sydney, she said.

“Words can’t express the enormity of the daily pain experienced by ATS or myself and his family,” she said. The strain led to her marriage breakdown.

She said the experience had been horrific, terrifying and heart-wrenching.

“As a mother I have hopes and dreams for my children. My dreams for ATS were stripped down to mere survival.”

Another witness who used the pseudonym ARY said students could not talk about the abuse because if they did they were seen as weak and considered as everyone’s “bitch”.

He said that during his time at the school he observed systemic bullying by teachers and by students of other students.

He blamed the culture at the school on the headmaster for 30 years Ian Paterson.

“Paterson and his rule dragged the school through a dark age that it should never had had, particularly as a Christian institution,” he said.

HEADMASTER NICKNAMED ‘SNAKE’

The inquiry heard that the autocratic style of a headmaster nicknamed “Snake” at Knox made it possible for teachers to take advantage of and prey on students.

A man using the pseudonym ARY said the governance style of Ian Paterson, headmaster at Knox for 30 years, made students fearful of reporting sex abuse by teachers.

ARY boarded at the school from Year 7 in 1974 and was there for four years. He was indecently assaulted by science teacher Roger James when he was 14. James was convicted and given a suspended sentence.

ARY and other former students told the sex abuse royal commission on Monday there was a culture of cover-up at the prestigious Wahroonga school.

Witnesses also accused the school of engendering a culture of homophobia with one saying he felt the school tried to force him out because he was gay.

ARY said James was a popular teacher, who was considered eccentric, smoked cigars in his office and the playground and was known to have alcohol in his office. He befriended ARY and stayed with his family, assaulting him during one stay.

ARY said he could not tell his parents who were paying for his expensive education. He also feared a backlash at school.

“In the boarding school if you were accused of a homosexual act you would never live it down,” he said.

 Knox Grammar School students leaving the school at Wahroonga in Sydney.

Knox Grammar School students at Wahroonga in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia

ARY said because of the Knox experience he was severely and incurably homophobic, even though he knew it was illogical.

He said Dr Paterson’s “autocratic style of governance” contributed to the “Knox culture which conditioned students to be fearful of reporting inappropriate conduct, and to be accepting of such behaviour by teachers.” It also allowed “teachers to take advantage of, and prey upon, students,” he said.

It was widely known by students that James, music teacher Barrie Stewart and Adrian Nesbitt — three of five teachers who pleaded guilty to indecent acts — were “overly hands-on with boys,” he said.

“I cannot believe that Paterson and other long term staff had no idea that sexual abuse was happening at Knox.” But the culture stopped teachers from speaking up.

“Everyone was expected to keep up the reputation of Knox,” he said.

Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul became upset as he told how his son David revealed he was molested by Stewart in the late 1970s.

“I believe the school was more interested in protecting the reputation of Knox than ensuring the safety and welfare of its students,” Dr Rentoul said.

A former student using the pseudonym ATQ said when he told another teacher that Knox was a “paedophile ring” he was told, “you can’t say that”. ATQ was 16 when he was groomed and abused by a housemaster.

Justice Coate and Commissioner Atkinson at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Respon

Justice Coate and Commissioner Atkinson at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: Jeremy Piper/ Oculi Source: News Corp Australia

Matthew O’Neal, who was abused by music teacher Barrie Stewart, said he was surprised to discover the teacher was still employed there 15 years later.

In a statement read to a royal commission hearing, Mr O’Neal, said when his brother started at the school in 1990, Stewart was still there.

“A gay paedophile in a boys school is like a kid in a candy shop. He should never have been working there,” Mr O’Neal said.

He said he went to the school when his younger brother was starting and he recalled a comment Stewart made to his mother. “I recall Stewart saying ‘Matthew is better looking than (his brother)’,” he said.

Mr O’Neal said he was relieved because it made him think at least he would not be interested in abusing his brother. He said Knox had done absolutely nothing to help him.

“They have not offered counselling, support, compensation, nothing”.

The commission heard that despite several internal inquiries there was no evidence Dr Paterson contacted the police.

Dr Paterson, headmaster at Knox from 1969 to 1998 will give evidence, probably next week.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Counsel for the commission David Lloyd said Knox, which was established in 1924 by the Presbyterian Church, had five boarding houses supervised by resident masters in the 1980s.

During that time there didn’t appear to be any formal process for employing someone who wanted to be a resident master.

“The evidence will disclose that at least one of the resident masters employed in around 1986, a Mr Chris Fotis, had criminal convictions for more than one offence at the time he was employed,” he said. The nature of the offence has no yet been disclosed. Mr Fotis was due to give evidence later in the hearing.

Former teacher, Craig Treloar, who admitted showing pornography to students in the 1980s continued teaching there until he was arrested for sex abuse more than 20 years later.

Mr Treloar thought he’d be sacked but was instead allowed to pick the timing of his six-month suspension. After returning from his suspension at the start of 1989, Treloar remained at the school until his arrest for child abuse in 2009.

He was sentenced to a minimum two years jail in 2010 for abusing boys at the school, but has also denied forcing his victims into sexual acts.

On Wednesday, he told the royal commission that, after admitting to showing porn to students in 1987, he was suspended from teaching for six months.

Treloar asked headmaster Ian Paterson if his suspension could be delayed — a request Treloar said was brought to the school council, which allowed him to start at the beginning of 1988 and to take off the last six months of the year.

The commission has heard Treloar admitted showing boys heterosexual porn, but evidence he also showed them videos depicting bestiality and paedophilia went undiscovered because the school held no investigation.

Five teachers pleaded guilty to indecent acts. Picture: Troy Snook

Five teachers pleaded guilty to indecent acts. Picture: Troy Snook Source: News Corp Australia

During his appearance at the commission, Treloar described his criminal charges of indecent assault as “letting boys touch me”.

“Do you have any self-awareness of how offensive it is to say that the boys wanted to touch you and you let them?” asked Peter Skinner, counsel representing three victims of sexual abuse. “You forced them to touch you. That’s the truth, isn’t it?” he continued.

“No, I didn’t force them to touch me,” Treloar replied.

Treloar, a Knox old boy who left in 1977 before returning to teach in 1982, told the commission he wasn’t asked for references when he applied to work as a resident master at a boarding home for year seven boys.

The former head of the Knox Preparatory School, Michael Jenkinson, told the commission Treloar’s status as an old boy was valued when he was interviewed for the boarding house job.

After he became aware of the porn, he and Dr Paterson concluded Treloar was immature.

“The only explanation we could give is that he’s just being a show off, of the level of his immaturity,” Mr Jenkinson said. After returning from his six-month suspension, Treloar was removed from the boarding house.

FILES DISAPPEARED

The inquiry heard that the files of students who made complaints of sexual abuse against teachers had disappeared.

David Lloyd, counsel assisting the commission, told the hearing Ian Paterson, who was headmaster between 1969 and 1998, will give evidence he kept documents recording the allegations — and the school’s response — in a black folder in his office.

But when the folder was inspected by Mr Paterson’s successor it became apparent a “number of files of students who made complaints of abuse have gone missing, without apparent explanation”.

Mr Lloyd said the commission will consider whether the documents were “deliberately destroyed in order to eliminate evidence which might adversely affect the school”.

The inquiry would also hear detailed reports were prepared after serious allegations were made against staffer Adrian Nisbett. Nisbett pleaded guilty to assaulting three boys in 1976 and 1986 and received a suspended sentence in 2010.

A duty manager at the school, Stuart Pearson, conducted an extensive investigation and found Nisbett had targeted “post-pubescent boys between 13 and 15 who excelled athletically as opposed to academically”. He recommended Nisbett be removed but there was no record of a response to his report.

Mr Nisbett was given a position as assistant to the headmaster, which he held until 1999, during which time he had access to student files.

He was then appointed to the role of Director of Students and aspects of the role included him providing pastoral care to pupils. There were further complaints and in 2003 Knox appointed an investigator, who carried out inquiries under the supervision of the Ombudsman.

The school accepted the investigator’s findings and informed the Commissioner for Children and Young People.

No mention was made of the NSW Police and the Ombudsman’s office did not pursue Knox, Mr Lloyd told the hearing.

Damien Vance, another teacher, was later given a glowing reference.

Vance was asked to leave Knox in 1989 because the parents of a boy he abused were coming to the school. When he left, Dr Paterson gave Vance a letter of service which he used to get a job in a school in Victoria. He continued to teach until a court ordered him to stay away from all schools two decades later.

Damian Vance, former Knox Grammar teacher who was convicted of inciting an act of indecen

Damian Vance, former Knox Grammar teacher who was convicted of inciting an act of indecency. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

When the hearing was announced current headmaster John Weeks wrote to old boys saying the sex abuse incidents had been widely publicised in 2009 and Knox had “always accepted its responsibility in this matter”.

Mr Weeks also said Knox has a most comprehensive child protection policy covering staff selection and training, student awareness and support structures.


26/02/15

Knox Grammar teacher suspected of hiding under boy’s bed with balaclava, sexually assaulting him

A former teacher at the prestigious Knox Grammar School in Sydney was suspected of wearing a balaclava as he hid under a boy’s bed and inappropriately touched him, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

The commission heard details of the alleged assault, which was said to have occurred in the late 1980s, from Dr Timothy Hawkes, who was a former Knox Grammar boarding house master and is now the current headmaster at Kings School at Parramatta.

Dr Hawkes said he was alerted to what became known as the “balaclava man” incident when he responded to what was believed to be an intruder about 5:00am.

“This was just a bizarre, extraordinary and extremely worrying and even frightening event,” Dr Hawkes told the hearing.

The teenager, known as ARN, had allegedly been assaulted as he slept.

“[ARN] told me that a man in a balaclava had run his hand on the inside of his leg and up towards his genitals,” Dr Hawkes said.

“He had woken with a start, a shout, and that the man had run off.”

Dr Hawkes said he believed the boy when he was told about the incident and immediately alerted the headmaster, Doctor Ian Paterson.

“We needed action to be taken because we had somebody running around the school with or without a balaclava, sexually interfering with boys,” Dr Hawkes said.

Dr Hawkes told the hearing he did not report the matter to the police because the school hierarchy meant that it would have become the responsibility of the headmaster or his assistant, who was a recently retired police officer.

“I didn’t believe it was my place to do that,” Dr Hawkes said.

“I had every confidence that the matter would be dealt with by a very experienced headmaster.

“There was absolutely no question in my mind that I fully expected the police to be notified because it was a serious offence. And I was desperate to make sure that this person was caught because I did not want that happening again to any of my boys.”

Dr Hawkes reacted angrily to a question from counsel assisting that suggested his priority was to protect the school’s reputation.

“I would totally reject that comment and find it offensive,” Dr Hawkes said.

“I had particularly no motivation to have, to in a sense, protect the school. That would never cross my mind and to suggest so I find utterly offensive.”

In the months after the assault, Dr Hawkes said some students suspected two of his colleagues.

“There was increased speculation that the intruder may well have been somebody inside,” Dr Hawkes said.

“There were two that were talked about in equal degrees of likelihood and those were Mr Fotis and Mr Vance.”

A warrant was issued for the arrest of former Knox Grammar teacher Christopher Fotis, who failed to appear at the hearing on Tuesday.

In his opening statement, Counsel Assisting David Lloyd revealed Damien Vance was later convicted of one count of category four sexual assault and released on a good behaviour bond.

Mr Lloyd said on Monday that “although the person’s face was concealed by a balaclava, a number of the boys in the dormitory believed that the offender was Christopher Fotis, one of the resident masters in MacNeil House at the time”.

“The basis of that belief was that the offender had the same build as Mr Fotis and Mr Fotis had, before lights out on the evening before the assault, said to ARN that he had a surprise in store for him that night,” Mr Lloyd said.

Mr Fotis later resigned from the school “after being arrested for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school”, Mr Lloyd said on Monday.

The hearing before Justice Jennifer Coate and Commissioner Bob Atkinson continues.

The inquiry in Sydney continues.

Interior designer Stuart Rattle’s partner, Michael O’Neill sentenced to 18 years in jail for his murder


The lover of Stuart Rattle has been sentenced to a 13-year minimum jail sentence for his

The lover of Stuart Rattle has been sentenced to a 13-year minimum jail sentence for his murder.

THE lover of murdered interior designer Stuart Rattle could serve just 13 years behind bars despite treating him like a prop out of the black comedy A Weekend at Bernie’s.

Michael O’Neill, 48, made cups of tea and watched episodes of Dr Who with his dead lover, who he murdered in their South Yarra home by cracking him over the head with a frying pan and strangling him with a dog lead.

The grim charade went on for five days as O’Neill carried on his day-to-day life pretending Mr Rattle was alive, buying him food and wine.

He eventually burnt down their home and made it loom like an accident.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth today sentenced him to a maximum of 18 years in jail, with a 13-year minimum, on charges of murder and arson.

Stuart Rattle's family at the Melbourne Supreme Court including sisters Diane Newlands an

Stuart Rattle’s family at the Melbourne Supreme Court including sisters Diane Newlands and Katrina Lewin and mother Jill Rattle. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Michael O'Neill arriving at the Supreme Court this morning. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Michael O’Neill arriving at the Supreme Court this morning. Picture: Nicole Garmston

A 1998 portrait of Stuart Rattle.

A 1998 portrait of Stuart Rattle.

In handing down her decision, Justice Hollingworth said she accepted O’Neill killed the respected interior decorator in December 2013 in a snap decision and did not plan to profit from his death.

“I accept that you killed Mr Rattle in the heat of the moment, without any forethought, for reasons which are deeper and more complicated than those suggested by the prosecution,’’ she said.

But Mr Rattle’s sister Katrina Lewin said her family was “shattered” over the jail sentence handed down.

“We are very disappointed by the meagre sentence that has been imposed,” Ms Lewin said.

Stuart Rattle's home office displayed his stylish sensibilities.

Stuart Rattle’s home office displayed his stylish sensibilities.

“We miss him everyday. Stuart was a very special person, he was very talented, charming and generous.

“It’s a waste of a beautiful life.”

Justice Hollingworth described O’Neill’s crime as “toward the lower end’’ of her sentencing range.

“Mr Rattle’s behavior in no way justified your killing him. But the circumstances in which you killed Mr Rattle, including the history of the relationship and your fragile psychological state, mean that the sentence imposed for murder must be towards the lower end of the range for that offence,’’ she said.

The court had previously heard O’Neill killed his partner of 16 years after he ridiculed him for refusing sex.

“He was stunned, and I got the dog lead and wrapped it around his neck,’’ he told police during his record of interview.

One of Rattle’s luxurious interiors in Toorak. Picture homesoftherich.net

One of Rattle’s luxurious interiors in Toorak. Picture homesoftherich.net

“I pulled it into a tight knot and he said to me, ‘Michael, don’t do this’. That’s all he said.”

“I made him a cup of tea.’’

O’Neill said he washed Mr Rattle’s bloody face before tidying up and placing him in a bag on the bed.

He continued to live his life as normal, taking the couple’s fox terriers for walks and catching up with friends.

“I did everything – two of everything,’’ he told police.

At one point he even sat by Mr Rattle’s body in bed and watched a Dr Who DVD, adjusting the TV as if to give the dead man a better view.

And he texted a friend from Mr Rattle’s phone, pretending he was still alive.

O’Neill said he sat and talked to Mr Rattle’s corpse.

Justice Hollingworth said the argument that led to Mr Rattle’s death was a repetition of the controlling and belittling behavior that had characterised their relationship.

“This was certainly not the first time he had called you a ‘frigid bitch’ for refusing his sexual advances. But this time you snapped … You finally had enough.’’

Ms Hollingworth said she took into account O’Neill suffered from a personality disorder and depression and was likely to do hard prison time.

She also took into account his early plea of guilty, clean criminal history and genuine remorse.


 

How Michael O’Neill hid the murder of interior designer and lover Stuart Rattle for five days

Designer Stuart Rattle at his beloved Musk Farm in Daylesford.

Designer Stuart Rattle at his beloved Musk Farm in Daylesford.

Guilty plea

THE first Malvern Rd tram of the day had just trundled by when Michael O’Neill rose from his bed, went to the kitchen, selected a saucepan, and clobbered his long-time partner.

Stuart Rattle was barely awake at the moment of the solitary blow: now groggy and bleeding, he asked O’Neill to stop as his lover wrapped a dog lead around his neck and pulled tight.

The scene made little sense, nor did what followed – as described by the murderer, who “loved” the victim as “a good person” who had been “so good to me”.

O’Neill mopped up the blood – Rattle didn’t like mess, he later explained. Unsure of what to do next, O’Neill steered a belated course for civility. He made his victim a cup of tea.

Over the next five days O’Neill would apologise to his deceased partner, who he lay in their bed. He would cry for his loss and pretend that Rattle, 53, wasn’t dead at all.

O’Neill, now 48, prepared meals for Rattle and shifted the TV so they could watch shows together. Yes, it sounded “very strange”, he later admitted.

“There’s something psychopathic about it all,” one of Rattle’s closest friends told the Herald Sun soon after O’Neill’s arrest, “but I’m not sure he’ll ever give a reason why he did it.”

Stuart Rattle's home office after the fire.

Stuart Rattle’s home office after the fire.

When Rattle’s body was discovered after a fire, the friend was instantly suspicious. O’Neill blamed a candle, yet Rattle was terrified of having open flames inside. The friend led a hushed chorus of suspicion. He “knew” then that O’Neill was being untruthful because “he couldn’t even look me in the face”.Slipperiness punctuated a police interview O’Neill gave soon afterwards. For five hours, O’Neill danced around the truth about the suspicious death. Once he finally confessed, he repeatedly said that he had killed Rattle for no good reason at all.

Then, he had lived with his victim and made his excuses. Then, he had botched the cover-up (which he explained as an attempt to offer his decomposing friend some “dignity”). O’Neill’s version of these events stands alone – the only other witnesses were the couple’s three fox terriers.

The police interview of last December was released last week during O’Neill’s committal hearing. It depicted a twitchy subject who lapsed between the past and present tense. O’Neill asked for wine and declined an offer of food because he doubted the police could offer anything he would like.

It was the denouement, if you believe others, after months of emotional struggle for O’Neill. One telling features O’Neill, suffering crying fits and bouts of hysteria, having to be hidden at times from Rattle’s interior design clients.

O’Neill had been a waiter at an upmarket Italian bistro when he and Rattle met in the late 1990s. Rattle’s renown as an interior designer was reaching full bloom. His talent would later shine most publicly at his beloved Musk Farm near Daylesford, yet his gifts extended to painting.

A great source of pride between the couple, it’s said they had confided, was that their initial bond had produced one almost instant tangible effect. O’Neill was in love – and off the anti-depressants.

Late last year, after 16-odd years, O’Neill was back on the prescription medication, according to one story told by friends. The drugs, say observers, were not working. O’Neill was manic, more “flighty” than usual, and always in a rush. He seemed mentally “unwell” and was making mistakes – well, even more mistakes than usual.

The day before Rattle’s death, at a Point Nepean Rd mansion in Portsea, O’Neill apparently botched the deliveries on the final day of a two-year project. The arguments, or “sh–fight”, flared throughout the day. The assumption among Rattle’s friends is that Rattle, finally, wanted O’Neill gone, at least from the business, if not the beds they shared as well.

‘In some ways you can see it all unfolding, when you look back on it’ – a friend of Stuart Rattle

This tallies with the closest O’Neill came to a motive during his police interview, a week after he killed Rattle. In response to the 1565th question put to him in a seven-hour interrogation, he said: “I was frightened and scared I’d lose him. I couldn’t face that.”

During the interview, O’Neill had offered up lies that could never survive scrutiny. That Rattle had died in the fire. That so-and-so had seen Rattle on days after Rattle had died. He later said “there wasn’t any, like … discord” between the pair. Indeed, he said, they had been “very happy”.

It seems, however, there was much heat between the pair when Rattle died. There had been for months. The trappings of their lifestyle projected success from afar. They drove a Range Rover. Rattle avoided champagne that was not French.

Yet the shininess did not paste over the fissures of time. Rattle had been noticeably vocal in his frustration with O’Neill, who was increasingly unable to cope with the pressures of running Rattle’s high-fuss business.

“In some ways you can see it all unfolding, when you look back on it,” says someone who knew Rattle for decades. “But the horrendous result just seems absolutely unimaginable. Michael must have just snapped.”

STUART Rattle was feeling low. One afternoon, a couple of years’ back, he took a bottle of wine to a friend’s, a fabric house owner, and sat down for a chat. He had a simple question. Why aren’t I as big as Thomas Hamel?

Hamel, from Sydney, is considered Australia’s most feted interior designer. Some experts, especially south of the border, felt Rattle was more talented.

Rattle lacked naked ambition: he’d rather perfect a garden than conquer the world, and he had, by then, tired of rich clients and their absurd demands. He’d prefer to stare at shades than study balance sheets. Yet the fabric house owner, it’s said, had a simple answer to the simple question: “Because of Michael.”

A magazine spread featuring Stuart Rattle’s work.

A magazine spread featuring Stuart Rattle’s work.

O’Neill was chatty, whereas Rattle, outside the fields of his expertise, tended to shrink in a crowd. Against this, the world was offered many images of Rattle, the brand name, whereas next to no photos exist of O’Neill. Rattle was said to be “Mumsy”, yet O’Neill was almost entirely off the public stage. For years, it worked. Their private teaming oozed charm and happiness.O’Neill was vague about his past: he had arrived from Ireland, via Terang. Any reticence he showed about broadcasting his origins was not unusual: many in high-end circles are said to thrust forwards without a nod to the past.

O’Neill was comfortable, over a cup of tea, talking classics or history or literature. Observers agree he had a wicked sense of humour that at times belonged in a skit show series. “He was very knowledgeable about a lot of things, which surprised us, because he could be so useless on another level,” says one.

Furniture maker Kim Moir used to speak to O’Neill almost every day. Moir had supplied Rattle for decades: they were so reliant on one another that they had agreed to retire at the same time.

Before his death, Rattle told Moir that he couldn’t afford to retire. He was open about his love of finer things, and the spending that such tastes demanded. “French champagne costs the same in the country as it costs in the city,” Rattle told Moir, who – as Rattle had often joked – would make Rattle’s coffin.

Moir says he didn’t want the every day contact with O’Neill, but that he had learned long ago that O’Neill would otherwise mess up the latest shape, size, order or delivery. He was “incompetent”; worse, he “refused to believe he was incompetent”.

O’Neill’s forgetfulness and “perpetual lying” cost a lot of money. “You can’t go to the customer and say we’ve made a mistake, we’ll have to order another $40,000 worth of fabric,” Moir says. “You just wear it and you have to order it again. It drove us nuts. It drove Stuart nuts.”Rattle had told Moir that he had sacked O’Neill many times. O’Neill had promised not to make the same mistakes and to adhere to new systems and turn up to daily meetings. Nothing worked.

Crises erupted regularly. O’Neill took great pride in solving what he had created. “It was all about trying to get around Michael and trying to get Michael to toe the line,” Moir says.

Plainly, Rattle tolerated such problems for a long time. He was known to describe O’Neill, with affection, as “f—— lazy”. But there had been recent shifts: Moir was frustrated to be with-held payments from Rattle’s business, considering the intimacy of their business relationship over many years.

Armadale antiques dealer Graham Geddes first identified “something wrong in the camp” several years ago. The growing complexities of the business were beyond O’Neill’s abilities, he says, and the pressures buckled Rattle and O’Neill’s personal relationship.

O’Neill had become more disorganised in recent years. Money owed to Geddes, who had first befriended and mentored Rattle more than three decades earlier, was not getting paid.

“I believe that Stuart was trying to pull the pin on the relationship,” he says. “That was definitely the go. Stuart had mentioned to me that he couldn’t cope with Michael and that he was incompetent.”

Another supplier, Hans Unger of Renaissance Parquet, says Rattle’s business faced the universal pressures of being owed money. “Towards the end, Michael was making horrible mistakes daily and I think that’s what put them into a real s—fight that day in Portsea,” Unger says. “I don’t think he was coping with the pressure of everything around him. It was all getting a bit too much.”

O’Neill himself volunteered the subject of mistakes during his police interview. He said Rattle always forgave him. O’Neill also admitted that he tried to cover up his mistakes, “almost like something a five-year-old does”.

He had recently tried a therapist, he said, because it had been a continuing issue. Yet the treatment hadn’t worked. He “couldn’t cope with it”.

“I sometimes create my own little bubble and pretend things don’t happen,” O’Neill said.

What was said on the final night of Rattle’s life? Did Rattle withdraw years of habitual forgiveness and trigger a dreadful choice described by Geddes as a “psychiatric problem”?

According to O’Neill, in his police interview, it had instead been a night of physical intimacy.

Stuart Rattle's office

Stuart Rattle’s office

THE Malvern St shopfront still bears Rattle’s name. Untended, it is an indictment to Rattle’s vibrancy. The blinds are drawn. Spiders have set up home. Dogs no longer trot and growl behind the window.

It’s said shrines to Rattle are better kept in private surrounds, where grief-struck clients know not where to turn. One woman has resorted to endless cups of tea and mournful reminiscences with a passing parade of home improvers who can never substitute for Rattle.

A while back, unable to source Rattle’s materials, she grew desperate. Someone with a black sense of humour suggested two options – a seance, to ask Rattle, or to try writing to Michael in jail.

The woman opted for the letter. Word is she got a helpful reply.

 

‘Thrill killer’ Thomas Hemming sentenced over Melbourne double murder


Judge considers media request for police interview with ‘thrill killer’ Thomas Hemming

Mon 12 Jan 2015, 3:40pm

A taped police interview with a man who stabbed a Melbourne couple to death last year is “not entertainment”, according to a Supreme Court judge considering a media request for access to the vision.

“Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of schoolchildren were traumatised by the murder of teacher Cheryl Adamson and her husband Robert, Justice Betty King said.

Ms Adamson, a librarian at Melbourne Grammar’s primary school, and her accountant husband were killed in their Murrumbeena home in Melbourne’s south-east last year by 21-year-old Thomas Hemming.

The double murder was described as a “thrill kill”, with Hemming telling police he had “wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone” for several months.

Hemming lived in the same neighbourhood as the Adamsons, both aged in their 60s, and the court heard he chose the couple on a whim because he thought it was better to kill older people than young victims.

He was sentenced last year to 32 years in prison with a minimum term of 27 years

While handing down the decision, Justice King described his crimes as “savage, horrific and motiveless”.

“There is nothing to indicate that you would not do it again as you lack an emotional connectedness with people in general,” Justice King told Hemming.

She described Hemming’s prospects of rehabilitation as “exceedingly poor”.

Justice King was back in court on Monday to assess a media application from the A Current Affair and Sunday Night television programs for access to vision of Hemming’s police interview.

She questioned the timing of the request and said it was important to consider how many children had been affected by the murders.

“I’ve been approached by people I know, due to the fact they had children at the school where the deceased taught,” Justice King said.

“They say they’re so glad it (the case) is done and finished, because of the ongoing trauma of all those children.

“They were so traumatised… it upset the entire Year 12.

“This is not entertainment… this is really serious.

“It’s a very important and relevant consideration in this case… because the position occupied by the deceased teacher involves hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of children.”

Justice King said she did not believe new coverage would be able to shed new light on the case.

“It’s inexplicable… really you can’t explain,” she said.

Hemming’s parents and siblings were in court to hear the application.

Justice King has reserved her decision.


 

Thrill killer‘ Thomas Hemming sentenced over Melbourne double murder

Updated 24 Oct 2014, 7:23pmFri 24 Oct 2014, 7:23pm

A 21-year-old man who stabbed a Melbourne couple for a thrill will spend 32 years in jail, with a minimum term of 27 years.

Thomas Hemming pleaded guilty to stabbing Robert and Cheryl Adamson to death in their home in Murrumbeena in February, in what prosecutors described as a “thrill kill”.

The court had previously heard Hemming “wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone”, a fantasy he had for several months leading up to the killings.

The court heard he chose the Adamsons on a whim because he knew an elderly couple lived at the home, and he thought it was better to kill older people than young victims.

Hemming has admitted knocking on the couple’s door at 6:00am on February 19 after a night of drinking and asking them if he could use their telephone.

When Mr and Mrs Adamson let him in, Hemming set upon them with a knife he had ordered off the internet.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

There is nothing to indicate that you would not do it again as you lack an emotional connectedness with people in general.

Justice Betty King

In sentencing, Justice Betty King said his crimes were “horrific” and “motiveless”.

She called it a “savage attack” on two decent, caring and helpful people that sent a “shudder of fear” throughout the community.

“The Adamsons suspected nothing and were behaving as good, decent caring neighbours,” she said.

“The circumstances of your offending are entirely inexplicable and incomprehensible to anyone involved in this matter and accordingly as a result are totally unnerving to every member of the community in which we live.”

Justice King said Hemming had “exceedingly poor prospects of rehabilitation”.

“You have pleaded guilty to these offences and you know what you did was wrong,” she said.

“But there is nothing to indicate that you would not do it again, as you lack an emotional connectedness with people in general.”

During the trial, Hemming’s lawyer Damian Sheales, told the court his client had shown no empathy for his actions nor provided any detail about why he had carried out the killings, calling it “the most fathomless case I’ve come across”.

Hemming has Asperger’s syndrome, which was discussed during the trial as a possible cause for the attack, but his psychiatrist told the court people with Asperger’s were more likely to be vulnerable victims in the community than perpetrators.


 Melbourne couple murdered in ‘thrill kill’, attacker Thomas Hemming wanted to know what killing was like, court hears

Updated 14 Oct 2014, 1:14am

The man who randomly stabbed a Melbourne couple to death wanted to know what it was like to kill someone and had fantasies about it, a court has heard.

Thomas Hemming pleaded guilty to stabbing Robert and Cheryl Adamson to death in their home in Murrumbeena in February, in what prosecutors described as a “thrill kill”.

At Monday’s plea hearing, the court heard Hemming “wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone”; a fantasy he had for several months leading up to the killings.

The court heard he chose the Adamsons on a whim because he knew an elderly couple lived at the home, and he thought it was better to kill older people than young victims.

Hemming has admitted knocking on the couple’s door at 6:00am on February 19 after a night of drinking and asking them if he could use their telephone.

When Mr and Mrs Adamson let him in, Hemming set upon them with a knife he had ordered off the internet.

The knife was found at the scene and Hemming was later found with blood on his clothes.

A terrifying sociopath with no feeling: Justice King

Hemming’s lawyer Damian Sheales, and his treating prison psychiatrist, told the court their client had shown no empathy for his actions, or provided any detail about why he had carried out the killings.

They also acknowledged there was no evidence he would not act similarly again in the event he was released.

“It’s the most fathomless case I’ve come across in all circumstances,” Mr Sheales said.

“As you can imagine, his own family are shattered.”

Justice Betty King described Hemming as “terrifying to us, terrifying to the community”.

“What is going on?” she said.

“He’s a sociopath … there’s no feeling, no empathy, no care … it’s truly terrifying.

“There’s nothing to indicate in any way that he’s not going to remain a danger.”

Hemming has Asperger’s syndrome, which was discussed as a possible cause for the attack, but his psychiatrist told the court people with Asperger’s were more likely to be vulnerable victims in the community than perpetrators.

Hemming showed no emotion as details of the case were read out.

He will be sentenced at a later date.


 

Thomas Hemming killed Robert and Cheryl Adamson in Murrumbeena home for the ‘thrill’, court hears

Date
October 13, 2014

Court Reporter for The Age

View more articles from Mark Russell

Thomas Hemming.
Thomas Hemming. Photo: Jason South

A Supreme Court judge has described as “terrifying” the case of a young man who had been thinking about killing someone for months before stabbing to death a much-loved couple in their Murrumbeena home.

“I have to say what’s going on?” Justice Betty King said on Monday during a pre-sentence hearing for Thomas Hemming, 21, who pleaded guilty to murdering Robert Adamson, 64, and his wife, Cheryl, 60, on February 19.

The judge said the case was the second “thrill kill” murder she had had to deal with in less than a year and looking at Hemming’s behaviour, she had to ask if he was a sociopath.

Hemming had tragically told his mother months earlier how he was preoccupied with killing someone and she had organised for him to see a psychologist but he cancelled the appointment.

The other ‘thrill kill’ case involved loner Gareth Giles who wrote an 18 point step-by-step plan on his computer on how to commit the perfect murder before he tied up and strangled a man near Geelong. Giles was jailed by Justice King for 26 years in April.

Chief Crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, QC, told the court Hemming did not know the Adamsons, who had two children, Michael and Katie, when he decided to kill them, believing it was better to murder someone older.

Mr Silbert said Hemming,who worked in the Woolworths bottle shop at Carnegie, was living at home with his parents when he had a friend over on the night of February 18.

The pair were drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels whisky and listening to music before Hemming began to feel sick and vomited.

Hemming and his friend then went for a walk around the neighbourhood some time between 1am and 3am.

Mr Silbert said Hemming’s friend drove home at about 4am and Hemming went back to his house before deciding to act out his fantasy of killing someone.

Hemming, who lived only 160 metres from the Adamsons’ house in Omama Road, had ordered a Cold Steel Marauder knife from a Queensland company online in October 2013.

Wearing black leather gloves and a black leather coat, Hemming took the knife and walked to the Adamsons’ home where he knocked on the door at about 6am and asked to use the phone.

Mr Silbert said the Adamsons, who were both wearing pyjamas, invited Hemming inside in the spirit of being good neighbours.

Hemming followed the couple down the hall before attacking Mr Adamson, an accountant, in the living room area, stabbing him repeatedly.

Mrs Adamson, a librarian at Melbourne Grammar School, hit Hemming over the head with a broom trying to save her husband of 33 years.

The prosecutor said Hemming then stabbed Mrs Adamson in the neck, chest and back before walking home and hiding his bloodied clothes under his bed.

Mrs Adamson’s brother, Craig Collier, in a victim impact statement read to the court, said he could not fathom what was going through his sister’s mind as she tried to stop Hemming from attacking her husband.

“Life will never be the same for any of us,” Mr Collier, who lives in Washington, said.

“My sister was more loved than anyone I know.”

Mr Collier asked: would Hemming having the same desire to kill again if he was ever released?

He had been unable to tell his 86-year-old mother that his sister had been murdered, instead telling her that the Adamsons had died in a car accident.

Defence barrister Damian Sheales told the court one of the most troubling aspects of the case was the senseless nature of it.

Mr Sheales said Hemming had the autism spectrum disorder Asperger syndrome but it did not explain his offending.

Psychiatrist Dr Daniel Sullivan said people with Asperger syndrome were usually more likely to be victims of violence and more vulnerable in the community.

Justice King said Hemming killed the Adamsons and took steps to try to avoid being caught which showed he was aware what he had done was wrong.

Hemming will be sentenced at a later date.


Bryson Anderson murder: Family and colleagues confront killers Mitchell and Fiona Barbieri in court


Mongel dog cop killers get eye-balled by colleagues, family and friends of slain police officer Bryson Anderson and ball their eyes out.

By court reporter Karl Hoerr

Mon 24 Nov 2014

Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson, who was killed at a rural property in Oakville.

Photo: Family and colleagues described their grief over the murder of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson. (Facebook: NSW Police.)

Family and colleagues of a Sydney police officer murdered nearly two years ago have described their continuing grief over his stabbing death during a sentencing hearing for his killers.

One by one, those closest to Bryson Anderson rose to speak at the sentencing hearing for Mitchell and Fiona Barbieri.

The 45-year-old Detective Inspector was fatally stabbed during a siege of a home at Oakville in Sydney’s north-west.

His 13-year-old son told the court he has been denied the rite of passage of having his father teach him to shave.

“I had to learn this skill alone, without him by my side,” he said.

He spoke about his difficulties enjoying cricket, something he used to share with his father.

You should save the tears that you have shed from the dock. You will not be forgiven

Bryson Anderson’s brother, Warwick Anderson

Mitchell Barbieri, who attacked Detective Anderson with a knife and has pleaded guilty to murder, cried in the dock as the victim impact statements were read out.

His mother, Fiona Barbieri, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of mental illness and showed little emotion.

The officer’s brother, Warwick Anderson, addressed Mitchell Barbieri directly.

“You should save the tears that you have shed from the dock. You will not be forgiven,” Mr Anderson said.

Widow Donna Anderson said she had lost her best friend.

“I never contemplated how it would feel to be on the other side of a police investigation,” she said.

Colleagues who witnessed the attack spoke of their guilt and extreme difficulty returning to work.

Sergeant Adam Fitzgibbon said: “At times, I question myself. How did I let this happen to Bryson?”

Senior Constable Neil Constable said Detective Anderson had praised his work just hours before he was murdered.

“He told me to keep it up and keep locking up the crooks,” he said.

Justice Robert Allan Hulme appeared visibly moved by the statements.

“It’s simply astounding that such a senseless act can have so many victims,” he said.

The sentencing hearing continues.


Mother and son to stand trial for stabbing murder of Sydney police officer Bryson Anderson

Wed 11 Dec 2013, 6:39pm

A mother and son have been committed to stand trial for the stabbing murder of Sydney police officer Bryson Anderson.

Fiona Barbieri, 46, and her 20-year-old son Mitchell Barbieri are accused of killing Detective Inspector Anderson when he was called to a neighbourhood dispute at Oakville in Sydney’s north-west in 2012.

They are charged with murder and wounding with intent to resist arrest.

In Central Local Court magistrate Chris O’Brien has ordered them to stand trial in February 2014.

Police say they went to the property in December 2012 after an urgent call from a neighbour.

The officer was one of a large contingent of police called to the Oakfield home to attend a heated dispute between neighbours.

They say the Barbieri’s fired arrows at them from the house.

Officers say when the Detective Inspector tried to negotiate with them he was stabbed in the neck by Mitchell Barbieri and his mother Fiona Barbieri hit the officer with a hammer.

Magistrate O’Brien said after hearing the evidence there is a “reasonable prospect” a jury would “convict the accused”.

The mother and son have not yet entered a plea to the charges but will be required to in February.

Outside court members of his family told reporters they are pleased the Barbieri’s will stand trial.

Police officer in tears

During the committal hearing today police officer Constable Hannah Watson broke down in tears while giving evidence.

She told the hearing she thought her duty officer had been punched, because she could not see a weapon in Mitchell Barbieri’s hand.

When the officer began sobbing the court was adjourned to allow her to compose herself.

One officer described Fiona Barbieri screaming at police to leave, using foul language.

In court two new charges of resisting arrest were laid against the mother and son.


‘He deserves to f****** die’: Court hears how police-killing mother and son shouted as their victim died… before emailing Russian president Vladimir Putin demanding asylum

  • Fiona Barbieri, and her son Mitchell, pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson in 2012 
  • Following her arrest, Fiona defended their actions as self-defence during a police interview 
  • The Barbieris had also sent emails to Tony Abbott and Mr Putin, saying: ‘We have every right to defend ourselves, our family and our property’
  • Inspector Anderson died after he was stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell Barbieri following a siege at their rural Oakville property
  • As he lay dying, the court heard that Fiona was heard yelling, ‘it’s his own f****** fault… he deserves to f****** die’
  • His family remember him as a larrikin with a great sense of humour
  • He also volunteered as a firefighter and in the Special Olympics  

A Sydney mother, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a police officer in 2012, sent emails to the Prime Minister and the Russian President in which she defended herself and demanded asylum.

Fiona Barbieri, 47, and her 21-year-old son Mitchell, attended their sentencing hearing in Sydney’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, where the full details surrounding the death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson were revealed.

Inspector Anderson died after he was fatally stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell Barbieri following a siege at a rural Oakville property in Sydney’s north-west on December 6, 2012.

The police interview of Fiona Barbieri after her arrest in 2012, following the death of a policeman at her  property in Sydney's north-west, was shown to Sydney's Supreme Court on Wednesday

The police interview of Fiona Barbieri after her arrest in 2012, following the death of a policeman at her  property in Sydney’s north-west, was shown to Sydney’s Supreme Court on Wednesday

The 41-year-old and her 21-year-old son Mitchell (pictured) pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson

The 41-year-old and her 21-year-old son Mitchell (pictured) pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson

During a police interview following the Barbieri’s arrests in 2012, the 47-year-old mother who is believed to have been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, told officers that Inspector Anderson had been killed in self-defence before demanding asylum in Russia.

In the footage of the police interview attained by Channel Nine, Fiona is heard saying: ‘what happened at our house today, where we were ambushed by an army of police officers, was self-defence.’

She is then handed a telephone by the officers who allow her to call the consulate, to whom she says: ‘It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia.’

According to Channel Nine, Fiona was advised by the consulate to forward her request via email, after which she refused to answer further questions from the policemen.

DECORATED police officer Bryson Anderson was "struck" by "two quick jabbing moves around a doorway" by a teenager with a "deliberate intention", a court has heard today.

The accounts of Detective Inspector Anderson's colleagues, who witnessed his death at a home in Oakville on December 6 last year, have been revealed during a pre committal hearing.

Mitchell Barbieri, 19, and his mother Fiona Barbieri, 45, have been charged with Inspector Anderson's murder after the seasoned officer was called to the property over a neighbourhood dispute and then fatally stabbed.

Inspector Anderson (pictured) died after he was fatally stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell following a siege at his rural Oakville home on December 6, 2012

In the police interview, Fiona is handed a telephone after demanding asylum in Russia. Police allowed her to call the consulate, to whom she says: 'It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia'

In the police interview, Fiona is handed a telephone after demanding asylum in Russia. Police allowed her to call the consulate, to whom she says: ‘It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia’

Fiona Barbieri arrives at the Supreme Court in Sydney for her sentencing  hearing on Wednesday

‘We are living here in convict Australia, corrupt convict Australia, and we have been doing our best to get out,’ she told officers.

‘The New South Wales police force is corrupt – that is what we have been standing up against and that is why we are in here today.’ 

Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Fiona and her son had been embroiled in a long-running dispute with their neighbour, which had been fuelled by Ms Barbieri’s paranoia.

On December 6, the tension spiralled out of control when the Barbieris spotted that Mr Waters was installing flood lights on his property.

Fiona – swinging a baseball bat – and Mitchell – armed with a crossbow – confronted the electricians working for Mr Waters.

The wife and brother of slain police officer  Anderson, Donna (left) and Warwick (right), leave the Supreme Court after the hearing

The parents of Mr Anderson, Red and Shirley Anderson, were also seen leaving the Supreme Court on Wednesday

Earlier in the month, the Barbieris cried and hugged in the dock as they prepared to plea to their roles in the death of Detective Inspector Anderson

Mitchell fired two arrows, narrowly missing them both, before he and his mother retreated into their home.

As the first police arrived, the court heard the Barbieris sent an email to a number of politicians, including then opposition leader Tony Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying: ‘We have every right to defend ourselves, our family and our property.’

Just over an hour later, it had become a ‘siege situation’ with Fiona and Mitchell screaming at police to ‘f*** off’.

Det Insp Anderson ordered the door to be kicked in and was stabbed twice by Mitchell – once in the cheek and fatally to the chest, Mr Tedeschi said.

As he lay dying, the court heard that Fiona was heard screaming, ‘it’s his own f****** fault.. he fucking deserved it… let the dog c*** die… he deserves to f****** die’.

The policemand wife Donna, said her husband absolutely adored their three children

The policemans wife Donna, said her husband absolutely adored their three children

Murdered police officer Bryson Anderson honoured by family

Bryson Anderson with his wife Donna and children from left to right - Darcy, Cain and Olivia

Bryson Anderson with his wife Donna and children from left to right – Darcy, Cain and Olivia

On the morning they were due to stand trial last week, Mitchell pleaded guilty to the officer’s murder, while his mother – who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia – pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of substantial impairment.

Under legislation passed before parliament, a person convicted of the murder of a police officer while on duty faces a mandatory life sentence.

But Mr Tedeschi said this was not a situation where life imprisonment should apply as Mitchell was influenced by his mother’s delusions.

‘He (Mitchell) had been under the influence of his mother … and her delusions had to some degree been transferred to him,’ Mr Tedeschi said.

Olivia, Cain and Darcy could not speak highly enough of their deceased father

Olivia, Cain and Darcy could not speak highly enough of their deceased father

At officer Anderson's 2012 funeral, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the decorated officer was greatly admired by his fellow officers

Instead, he said the crown would be seeking a ‘very lengthy’ sentence.

Earlier in the month, Inspector Anderson’s family honoured the man who was a much-loved husband and father of three.

Bryson’s widow Donna Anderson and their three children Olivia, Darcy and Cain could not wipe the smiles off their faces when they told fond stories of how Bryson was always the larrikin of the family.

‘There was the policeman side to him which was incredibly serious – he took his job very seriously -but there was the family side of him where he was just the clown in every family gathering,’ Donna told Channel Nine’s ACA.

‘He just absolutely adored his kids,’ she said. He was a typical dad – he loved dad jokes and if he could embarrass the kids in front of their friends that was even better.’

Police officers and family attend the funeral of the slain officer at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta in 2012 

Police officers and family attend the funeral of the slain officer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta in 2012 

The family privately continue to struggle with their loss, and it will be some time before they finally come to terms with the tragedy

The family privately continue to struggle with their loss, and it will be some time before they finally come to terms with the tragedy

His three children could not speak highly enough of their father.

‘He would totally just love life – it was awesome,’ his only daughter Olivia said. ‘Yes, he liked to embarrass us.’

His eldest son, Darcy said he was a great dad who was always a joker.

‘He photo bombed a lot – my first cricket game in my photo – he was in the background,’ he said.

‘Cricket is my life – me and dad built the pitch out the front in 2003 I think.’

‘We got tonnes of dirt and just rolled it and got it all padded down and I just keep mowing it in.’

Bryson's only daughter Olivia said her father had a great love for life

Bryson’s only daughter Olivia said her father had a great love for life

Darcy loves cricket so much that his father helped build him a cricket pitch in their front yard

Darcy loves cricket so much that his father helped build him a cricket pitch in their front yard

Youngest son Cain said his father was always a joker who 'photo-bombed a lot'

Youngest son Cain said his father was always a joker who ‘photo-bombed a lot’

‘He would totally just love life – it was awesome,’ his only daughter Olivia (left) said. ‘Yes, he liked to embarrass us’ 

Bryson's family described him as a joker who had a great sense of humour

Bryson’s family described him as a joker who had a great sense of humour

‘He was always a joker – he photo-bombed a lot,’ his youngest son Cain said. 

While being dedicated to his family and career, he also managed to squeeze in volunteering with the Special Olympics, travelling to Vanuatu to give gifts to children and also volunteering as a firefighter.

‘He would come home from the police sometimes he would only be there for an hours or so and then the bells would go off and he would go out to a fire call and he did that for nine years,’ Donna said.

During the committal hearing last year, a number of police officers broke down as they recalled the murder.

At Detective Inspector Anderson’s 2012 funeral, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the decorated officer was admired by his fellow officers for his tenacity and determination, as well as his empathy and compassion.

‘He showed initiative and leadership; intelligence and perseverance; dedication and humility; and, memorably, a ready smile and an engaging way.

‘Bryson drew people to him, without guile and without effort.’

The matter will return to court later this month.

Mother and son Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri plead not guilty to Sydney policeman Bryson Anderson’s murder

Fri 7 Feb 2014, 1:41pm

 A mother and son accused of murdering a Sydney police officer have pleaded not guilty.

Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri formally entered their pleas in the NSW Supreme Court this morning ahead of their trial later this year.

The 46-year-old and her 20-year-old son were charged after the death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson at Oakville on Sydney’s north-western outskirts in December 2012.

Inspector Anderson was part of a large contingent of police called to attend a heated neighbourhood dispute.

Police say the Barbieri’s fired arrows at them from their house.

Inspector Anderson then tried to negotiate with the pair for several minutes, when he was allegedly stabbed in the neck by Mitchell Barbieri and hit with a hammer by Fiona Barbieri.

The 45-year-old officer was rushed by paramedics to Windsor Hospital but died soon afterwards.

The Barbieris have also pleaded not guilty to additional charges laid late last year of wounding with intent to resist arrest.

In an earlier hearing a fellow officer who witnessed Inspector Anderson’s death broke down in court as she recalled the events.

Constable Hannah Watson told the court she initially thought her duty officer had been punched, because she could not see a weapon in Mitchell Barbieri’s hand.


Mother, son admit to killing police officer Bryson Anderson

Updated 5 Nov 2014, 3:19pmWed 5 Nov 2014, 3:19pm

A mother and son have pleaded guilty to killing a New South Wales police officer called to their home in Sydney’s north-west.

According to police, Mitchell Barbieri, 21, and his 47-year-old mother, Fiona, barricaded themselves inside their Oakville home when New South Wales police officer Bryson Anderson responded to an urgent call from neighbours in December 2012.

They say the pair fired arrows at the officer and attacked the 45-year-old with a knife and a hammer.

Mitchell Barbieri pleaded guilty to murdering Anderson, while Fiona Barbieri pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Prosecutors accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge because she had “a substantial impairment brought about by an abnormality of mind” at the time.

The pair made their pleas in the Supreme Court the day their six-week trial was due to start.

They will return to court next week for a sentencing hearing.

Anderson, who held the rank of Detective Inspector, was one of several officers who attended the Barbieris’ home after reports of a feud between neighbours.

Colleagues say that when he tried to negotiate with the family, he was stabbed in the neck by Mitchel Barbieri and hit with a hammer by his mother.

White Ribbon Day Nov 25th 2014. What are you doing to stop the violence?


NOV25

EVENTS CAN BE FOUND HERE http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/events

White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women.

Vision
All women live in safety free from all forms of men’s violence.

Mission
Making women’s safety a man’s issue too.

The campaign works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising and education, and programs with youth, schools, workplaces and across the broader community.

Globally, White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. Originating in Canada in 1991, White Ribbon is now active in more than 60 countries.

White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003 as part of UNIFEM (now UN Women), formally becoming a Foundation in 2007.

White Ribbon Australia observes the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, annually on November 25. White Ribbon Day signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (December 10).


Thousands march in Melbourne against family violence amid calls for health officials to do more

Tue 25 Nov 2014, 8:31pm

Walk Against Family Violence

Thousands took to Melbourne’s streets to take part in the Walk Against Family Violence (ABC News)

Related Story: Defence force, military get behind White Ribbon Day

One woman is killed by a violent partner each week in Australia.

Two of the leading figures in the fight against family violence, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay and Rosie Batty, led more than 1,000 people through the streets of Melbourne today in a march to stop violence against women.

On the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Mr Lay said Australia could not arrest its way out of the situation.

“I think that for far too long family violence and resolving family violence has been left in the hands of police,” he said.

“We cannot simply arrest our way out of this. We need to change attitudes, it’s in the schooling, it’s in families.

“Clearly, fathers and mothers have got a responsibility to teach their children about gender inequity, teach their children to treat each other decently.

“They are partly responsible for this, no doubt.”

There were also calls for doctors and health officials to do much more to stop family violence, with new research published in The Lancet.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty, who co-authored the Lancet paper, is a GP and the head of primary care at the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice.

She said the health system needed to be more focussed and streamlined when it came to addressing family violence.

“What we’re really looking for health professionals to do is provide a first line response that listens, validates, acknowledges what women and girls have been through in terms of violence against women and provides them with a pathway to safety and healing,” she said.

“To do that we need to strengthen the role of the health sector.”

Health sector ‘lacks awareness, training’ in family violence

In January 2013 Professor Hegarty called for GPs to be trained to recognise signs of domestic violence.

Since then, she said the health system had been slow to recognise the need for change.

“I think there’s been a large movement in the awareness in community campaigns with the development of Our Watch and other activities through White Ribbon,” she said.

“So I think people are becoming more aware that domestic violence or family violence is a problem in our community.

“What we haven’t found is the health sector responding.

We haven’t got very large awareness as a result of a lack of training among health care providers.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty

“We haven’t got regular training or supervisional mentorship in medical nursing or public health or other curricular on a regular basis.

“We haven’t got very large awareness as a result of a lack of training among health care providers.”

Professor Hegarty said substantial system and behavioural barriers existed in the health system.

“We haven’t got an enabling policy environment,” she said.

The Lancet paper examined five country case studies, including India and Spain, and how they responded and dealt with family violence.

Professor Hegarty said developing low-income countries such as India had made progress in addressing family violence in conjunction with their HIV-AIDs strategy.

“In fact, it’s been interesting to look at people who have done violence interventions attached to health interventions for HIV,” she said.

“That’s been showing some promise in a way we haven’t had those epidemics like that, and therefore I think health has been a little bit behind.”

She said Australia had a large focus on the national plan, which has been excellent to prevent violence against women and children.

“(But) it needs a whole spectrum across the ecological model from the community,” she added.

“(An) ecological model goes from a community to an individual, and often a health practitioner is seeing someone at an individual level. We need everybody to be activated.”


 

White Ribbon Day sparks more than 1,000 events across Australia in campaign against domestic violence

Tue 25 Nov 2014, 12:07pm

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has praised the involvement of Australia’s military in White Ribbon Day, saying it sends a signal that strong men protect others and do not condone domestic violence.

Speaking at a White Ribbon Day function in Canberra, Mr Abbott said shocking statistics associated with domestic violence crimes prompted the Government to allocate $100 million as part of an action plan to combat violence against women.

“It’s really good to see the participation of our armed forces in White Ribbon Day … because the presence of our armed forces, the presence of our police is a sign that tough, strong men protect others, they don’t persecute them. That the toughest and the strongest men are peacemakers, not brutes,” he said.

“Every week a woman dies somewhere in our country in a domestic context. One woman in three will experience violence at some stage of her life.

“One woman in five will experience sexual violence at some stage in her life. It’s just wrong. It must stop,” he said.

“Government has a role to play, that’s why this Government is investing some $100 million in our Second Action Plan to combat violence against women.”

Army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison told a White Ribbon breakfast in Adelaide stories about the ANZAC spirit also needed a greater focus on the women who were involved.

He said many stories about World War I focused on stories about Anglo Saxon men.

“Unless they’re (women) included in the story, I think what we run the risk of is compounding this idea that Australia is a man’s country, a man’s world, where men get ahead,” he said.

“Men are promoted on their potential, women are only ever promoted on their proven performance. I don’t think we’re going to progress as a nation if that’s the case.”

Luke Batty death brought issue home for victims

White Ribbon ambassador John Caldwell told the ABC’s Breakfast program the tragic death of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the hands of his father earlier this year had brought the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.

“When I saw his (Luke’s) photo and I thought, ‘that could have been me,’ and never before have I really thought of myself as one of the lucky ones, but that made me feel like I was one of the lucky ones,” Mr Caldwell said.

Mr Caldwell was nominated as Australian of the Year for Victoria in 2014 and said the nomination of Luke’s mother Rosie Batty for Australian of the Year in 2015 helped to highlight why the issue of domestic violence should be taken seriously.

It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours.

White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies.

“I grew up in Melbourne in a house that was plagued by domestic violence,” he said.

“I guess as a kid hiding under the bed I always felt so helpless and now as an adult, I don’t need to. I get to take back the power that I lost as a kid, but also to educate other children that you don’t have to stay silent yourself.

“Even for kids, there are people you can talk to. As a child, hiding under a bed hearing screams outside and not sure what you will find when you eventually walk out – I used to liken it to, as the eye of a cyclone. It would go quiet. Is it safe to go out? And then it erupts again.”

Mr Caldwell said nobody came to help despite people knowing what was happening and White Ribbon Day was about breaking that silence.

“It was known what was going on outside of the house and nobody would do anything, and that’s why White Ribbon Day is so important, because it is a male-led campaign,” he said.

White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies said more than 1,000 events would be held across Australia to promote White Ribbon Day, including a walk through Melbourne’s CBD by members of both the Melbourne and Richmond Football Clubs as part of the Walk Against Family Violence.

“It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours,” she said.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said several hundred people, mostly men, had marched from Randwick to Coogee in Sydney’s east in an event co-hosted with Randwick Council this morning.

He said those present, including many police officers, pledged an oath to help reduce violence against women.

“The oath is all about never ever condoning or committing acts of violence against women in any form. It’s about having those conversations with men acting as role models for other men,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said domestic violence cases were the single biggest crime police attended.

Phone app hidden function to protect domestic violence victims

In a bid to help protect victims of domestic violence, a free Australian mobile phone app was been launched in time for White Ribbon Day.

Buzz News looks like a regular news app on a mobile phone, but has a hidden function that allows people to secretly contact friends and call for help.

Developed by the Lisa Harnum Foundation, the app was named after the woman who was murdered by her partner Simon Gittany in Sydney in 2011.

Foundation executive director Aileen Mountifield said the phone app could save lives.

“If a perpetrator is used to checking his partner’s phone all that will come up is news, entertainment news, sports news, local news, national news,” she said.

“So that’s a deterrent hopefully that he won’t go to the help button because under the help button she would have stored her safe contacts, so if in distress all she has to do is open the app and press send.”

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