Illawarra pensioner jailed for almost five years for sexually assaulting intellectually disabled neighbour

An intellectually disabled woman molested by her elderly, pensioner neighbour has told a court she was forced to move house after the ordeal because she didn’t feel safe inside her own home.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied sexually assaulting the woman but was found guilty on two charges following a four day trial in Wollongong District Court last month.

The court heard the pair lived in adjoining unit complexes in the Illawarra and often socialised, including giving each other massages.

During one of the massages the man inserted his finger into the woman’s anus. She told the court she felt a burning pain and told the man to stop.

He replied “oops, sorry” and stopped, however then squeezed her breasts and grabbed at her genitals.

She disclosed the incidents to a friend the following day, who contacted police.

The man was arrested and charged with one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and indecency assault.

The woman read out a victim impact statement at his sentencing hearing on Friday, saying she’d since moved out of her apartment.

“I was worried he was watching me, I was worried he would see me when I left the flat and went to the bus stop or shopping centre,” she said.

“I felt I couldn’t live in my home anymore.

“I’m never going to be the same again and that makes me sad. He took my trust away from me.”

She was, given her disability, more vulnerable than many in the community.

Judge Andrew Haesler

Judge Andrew Haesler sentenced the man to an overall prison term of four years and nine months.

He set a non-parole period of two years and six months due to the man’s powerful subjective case, which included multiple health issues that would make his time behind bars more onerous than that of a normal prisoner.

“He was a guest in [the victim’s] home, she thought he was her friend,” Judge Haesler said.

“She was, given her disability, more vulnerable than many in the community. 

“He took advantage of their friendship and of who she was.”

The man will be eligible for parole in March 2019.