Quarry sex at­tacker’s crimes be­gan as a teen

Taranaki Daily News - - National News - Stuff Tommy Liv­ingston

Se­rial rapist Colin Jack Mitchell be­gan of­fend­ing as a teenager,

Stuff can re­veal. Mitchell was found guilty ear­lier this year of ab­duct­ing a young woman off the streets of Auck­land in 2017 and tak­ing her to a se­cluded quarry near Riverhead with the in­ten­tion of rap­ing her.

He was also found guilty at the same trial of rap­ing a woman in 1992 after pick­ing her up off the side of the road near Point Che­va­lier.

Fol­low­ing his con­vic­tions,

and other me­dia out­lets asked for the de­tails of his of­fend­ing, which date back to when he was aged 15, to be lifted.

The of­fend­ing be­gan in 1973, when Mitchell was con­victed of rap­ing a woman. He was im­pris­oned for five years for the crime. His next known of­fence was a decade later.

In 1984 he was ar­rested for the rape, sodomy and in­de­cent as­sault of a woman. He was con­victed and sen­tenced to an­other five years’ im­pris­on­ment.

Yes­ter­day, Mitchell lost his ap­peal against con­vic­tion and sen­tence, mean­ing the of­fend­ing from 1973 could be re­vealed to the pub­lic.

Prior to be­ing ar­rested in 2017 for the most re­cent at­tack, Mitchell’s crimes were not known to those he as­so­ci­ated with.

He had worked at a south Auck­land truck­ing com­pany for more than 20 years. Out­side of work, he spent time at his lo­cal Re­turned and Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion in One­hunga, where he even­tu­ally be­came pres­i­dent.

At trial ear­lier this year, Crown pros­e­cu­tor Kirsten Lum­mis de­scribed Mitchell as a prowler.

‘‘Most of the time Mr Mitchell is a law-abid­ing cit­i­zen,’’ she said.

‘‘But Mr Mitchell has a dark, sin­is­ter side. A side that only comes out in the black of night . . . the Crown says he turns into a prowler.’’

Mitchell de­nied the of­fend­ing at trial, claim­ing the 1992 rape was con­sen­sual and that he did not com­mit the 2017 Riverhead quarry at­tack.

The strong­est piece of ev­i­dence was a glove found at the scene of the quarry at­tack which had Mitchell’s DNA on it. He claimed at trial he had tried on gloves at The Ware­house a month or so ear­lier, and that the at­tacker must have pur­chased the same pair of gloves and left them at the scene. His strange al­ibi was made stranger when he claimed that on the night of the at­tack, he had spent the evening bathing his legs at One­hunga Beach.

Dur­ing the course of DNA test­ing for the Riverhead quarry at­tack, the gloves pro­duced a match with DNA col­lected from the un­solved 1992 rape.

At his sen­tenc­ing in May, Dr Jeremy Skip­worth as­sessed that Mitchell was of high risk of sex­ual re­of­fend­ing, in par­tic­u­lar against vul­ner­a­ble women who were strangers to him.

Jus­tice Fitzger­ald said there was a clear and dis­turb­ing pat­tern of sex­ual of­fend­ing.

Mitchell is serv­ing a sen­tence of pre­ven­tive de­ten­tion.

DAVID WHITE/ STUFF

Colin Jack Mitchell ap­pear­ing at the Auck­land Dis­trict Court fol­low­ing his ar­rest.

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