Quarry sex at­tacker jailed in­def­i­nitely

The Southland Times - - Front Page -

A man found guilty of the ab­duc­tion, as­sault and in­tended sex­ual as­sault of a young wo­man in Auck­land has been sen­tenced to pre­ven­tive de­ten­tion and jailed in­def­i­nitely.

Yes­ter­day at the High Court in Auck­land, Colin Jack Mitchell re­ceived the sen­tence for his at­tack on a young wo­man at the River­head quarry in north Auck­land last year and the rape and ab­duc­tion of a wo­man in 1992.

He sat emo­tion­less in the dock as he was sen­tenced by Justice Sally Fitzger­ald. He will serve a min­i­mum of 10 years. His un­rav­el­ling be­gan with two mis­placed gloves and ended with six guilty ver­dicts on his 60th birth­day at his trial in Fe­bru­ary. For more than three weeks, ju­rors lis­tened to ev­i­dence about the at­tack on a wo­man at a quarry in River­head in north Auck­land. He was also on trial for charges re­lat­ing to a rape from 1992, and he had other rape con­vic­tions.

In the early hours of Fe­bru­ary 26, 2017, police found a blood­ied wo­man in a re­mote quarry in north Auck­land. The vic­tim at the cen­tre of the case had been at the Auck­land Pride Pa­rade but was ab­ducted shortly af­ter and taken to the quarry.

Mitchell ab­ducted the wo­man with the in­tent to sex­u­ally vi­o­late her but the wo­man es­caped.

Dur­ing the trial in Fe­bru­ary, Mitchell de­nied any wrong­do­ing, and claimed on the night of the at­tack he was at home and later went to pad­dle at One­hunga beach.

Yes­ter­day, he was also sen­tenced for the his­toric and un­solved rape in 1992.

Dur­ing DNA test­ing for the River­head quarry at­tack, two black gloves pro­duced a match with DNA col­lected from the 1992 rape. At trial, Mitchell fought the al­le­ga­tions re­lat­ing to the 1992 rape and the more re­cent River­head at­tack.

He claimed that in 1992 he had con­sen­sual sex with the wo­man. For the River­head charges he went fur­ther, ar­gu­ing he was not the at­tacker at all de­spite his DNA be­ing at the scene.

The vic­tim of the River­head quarry at­tack be­came in­creas­ingly emo­tional while read­ing her vic­tim im­pact state­ment to the court. Its con­tents were sup­pressed by Justice Fitzger­ald.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Kirsten Lum­mis ar­gued for a sen­tence of pre­ven­tive de­ten­tion. This would mean Mitchell would be man­aged by the Corrections Depart­ment for the rest of his life and could be re­called to prison at any time.

In her sen­tenc­ing Justice Fitzger­ald de­tailed both the 2017 and 1992 in­ci­dents.

‘‘Your of­fend­ing and its af­ter­math have been a har­row­ing or­deal.’’

Dr Jeremy Skip­worth as­sessed that Mitchell was athigh risk of sex­ual re­of­fend­ing, in par­tic­u­lar to vul­ner­a­ble fe­males who were strangers to him.

Justice Fitzger­ald said there was a clear and dis­turb­ing pat­tern of sex­ual of­fend­ing and clear sim­i­lar­ity of the of­fend­ing, preda­tory na­ture and seek­ing out vul­ner­a­ble vic­tims.

‘‘Your sex­ual de­viancy has not di­min­ished over time and the scale of your of­fend­ing has es­ca­lated,’’ she said.

‘‘The pat­tern of of­fend­ing has ex­tended over most of your adult life; there is no ba­sis for me to con­clude that it will stop.’’

Mitchell has recently been di­ag­nosed with blad­der can­cer and suf­fers from type 2 di­a­betes.

Colin Mitchell

Ca­trin.owen@stuff.co.nz

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