Yachtie’s sor­did his­tory re­vealed

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A JURY took less than six hours to find John Collins guilty of rap­ing a young woman aboard his yacht as it sailed up the Queens­land coast to the Whit­sun­days in the 1980s.

And this was not the first time. It can now be re­vealed over the past year Collins, 76, faced two sep­a­rate tri­als in the Bris­bane Dis­trict Court for sex of­fences against four dif­fer­ent women, com­mit­ted aboard his yacht be­tween 1987 and 1999 at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions along the Queens­land coast.

Collins was sen­tenced in Oc­to­ber last year to nine years and four months be­hind bars for sex of­fences he com­mit­ted against one of those women.

He was also de­clared a se­ri­ous vi­o­lent of­fender, re­quir­ing him to serve at least 80 per­cent of the sen­tence.

Last week, Collins pleaded not guilty in the Bris­bane Dis­trict Court to charges of rape and sex­ual as­sault stem­ming from his in­ter­ac­tions with a fifth woman in 1986, while trav­el­ling from the Sun­shine Coast to Hamil­ton Is­land via Bund­aberg aboard his yacht.

The young woman, who can­not be iden­ti­fied due to legal rea­sons, met Mr Collins af­ter re­spond­ing to a job ad­ver­tise­ment for a po­si­tion aboard his yacht.

The ad­ver­tise­ment promised an adventure on the high seas in re­turn for some help with mi­nor du­ties and com­pany aboard the yacht.

As the yacht sailed from the Sun­shine Coast to Bund­aberg, Mr Collins al­legedly made sex­ual ad­vances and re­quested sex from the woman, which she re­fused.

The yacht stopped at Great Kep­pel Is­land be­fore sail­ing to a de­serted is­land, where it was al­leged the first rape oc­curred.

Once the yacht reached Hamil­ton Is­land, the woman man­aged to catch a ferry to Air­lie Beach, where she called her par­ents and caught a bus back to the Sun­shine Coast.

Dur­ing Collins’ sen­tenc­ing last week, Crown pros­e­cu­tor David Nar­done de­scribed him as a preda­tor who preyed on young women.

He said Collins’ sor­did crim­i­nal his­tory across four states was lit­tered with sex of­fences against young women.

Judge Julie Dick sen­tenced Collins to two years be­hind bars for his lat­est of­fences and or­dered this be served on top of his cur­rent sen­tence.

"There is not a lot that can be said in your favour," she said. "I think you live in a fool's par­adise in your per­cep­tion about hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with th­ese women." Collins will be el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for pa­role in Oc­to­ber 2024.

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