Lismore Court House. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Lismore Court House. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

Woman felt 'dirty, ashamed' over partner's abuse

A CASINO man has been jailed for at least five years over the sexual assault and rape of his ex-partner in what police have described as a textbook case of escalating domestic violence.

The 43-year-old was sentenced in Lismore District Court today after pleading guilty last November to one count of aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm and two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.

The offences occurred on three separate occasions between August and November 2015.

On the first day of the sentencing hearing last week, the victim told the court she had held back from reporting the crimes because she felt "disgusted" and "ashamed".

Reading a victim impact statement aloud, she said had felt "degraded and disgusted," and "ashamed and embarrassed and dirty" by her partner's abuse.

"I thought I was going to lose my life to this person," the woman said, "but I lost my life in a different way".

She described having "flashbacks of fear" saying she had not "experienced any normality for a long time".

She told the court how these feelings held her back from revealing the extent of the violence to her children or the police, saying it was a "very difficult step" but she was ultimately "glad" that she did so.

The man sat motionless in the dock as his former partner read her statement.

On Wednesday, Judge Peter Whitford sentenced the man to an aggregate prison term of seven years and nine months to expire in August 2024 taking into account time served to date, with a non-parole period of five years and two months.

Speaking after the sentencing, Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Lindsay described the case as a "disturbing example" of sexual assault and domestic violence "at its worst".

He said the conviction of the offender and significant jail term was a "fantastic result".

"I think it's a good example of a victim finding the courage to come forward and... stand up to it."

He said police found any reports of domestic violence "totally unacceptable".

"We know that research shows that to stop the cycle of violence the most effective way is to place the matter before the court."

The offender will be first be eligible for parole in January 2022.

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