Six sex crimes that shook our region

THE courthouses across the Northern Rivers are ordinarily busy with all manner of criminal cases each month.

But sometimes a particularly horrifying case goes before the region’s magistrates and judges.

Among the most disturbing matters in recent years have been six unusually shocking sex crimes cases.

1. Girl’s father faces decades without parole

THE parents of a young elite athlete were sentenced to terms of imprisonment in 2016 for the years of horrendous abuse they inflicted upon her.

So horrific were the crimes committed by the girl’s father, the sentences handed down for his 73 offences – which ranged from rape to torture – would have totalled more than 1000 years behind bars if he was not given concurrent sentences.

The Northern NSW-based husband and wife, who cannot be named to protect their daughter’s identity, denied their offending.

The father ultimately received 48 years’ prison, with no chance of parole until 2049 while the mother – who was found guilty of 17 offences which included taking part in sexual acts with her daughter – 16 years, 11 of them without parole.

2. ‘Extraordinary’ woman’s bravery after beach rape

ZANE Rowe, 34, from Coffs Harbour, will be in prison until at least March 15, 2024 for the horrific rape of an international student on Belongil Beach in Tyagarah.

Rowe had been in custody since June, 2017 and after he pleaded guilty to the six counts of aggravated sexual assault, committing an act of indecency and destroying or damaging property, he was sentenced to nine years and nine months prison.

A significant portion of that will be spent without Rowe being eligible for parole.

In her February 2019 judgment, Judge Julia Baly commended Rowe’s victim for the way she dealt with the “terrifying” ordeal.

Rowe claimed to have a gun and threatened to kill her before unleashing multiple attacks upon her.

But after the violent assaults, the women managed to keep him near her as they walked back to her accommodation, where she alerted authorities.

“What is both, to my mind, extraordinary and admirable, is that she was able to summon the strength to manage and, to some extent, take control of the situation,” Judge Baly said.

3. Repeat offender jailed for assault, bestiality

AN ELDERLY woman, indecently assaulted while she was medicated and sleeping, was among Sean Anthony Sellenthin’s many victims.

Sellenthin, 44, from Bangalow, was sentenced in May to 16 years behind bars.

The repeat offender had previously been jailed for 87 offences in 2006.

In the lead up to his more recent arrest in November, 2017, his behaviour involved a similar span of offending.

He pleaded guilty to 83 charges which spanned a six-year period, including aggravated indecent assault, aggravated break and enter, bestiality, of producing child abuse material, stalking, stealing from a dwelling and other related charges.

Assisting prosecutors was the fact he filmed all manner of offending.

He also recorded a range of people through their windows in various states of undress.

The court heard many of Sellenthin’s victims were never identified by investigators and would remain unaware of his actions toward them.

He won’t be eligible for parole until November 21, 2029.

4. Teen rapist given decade behind bars

A YOUTH who broke into the home of sleeping Lismore woman before raping and violently assaulting her will spend years behind bars.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged 17 at the time of the December, 2017 attack.

He was sentenced as a juvenile in March 2019 after pleading guilty to wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, aggravated sexual assault and committing an aggravated serious indictable offence in a dwelling involving the deprivation of liberty.

Lismore District Court’s Judge Wells sentenced him to 10 years prison, with a six and a half year non-parole period, which will expire in June, 2024.

He is to spend part of his sentence, until he turns 21, in juvenile detention.

5. Couple jailed for 13 years

A MARRIED couple will each face eight years without parole, and a 13 year total sentence, for the repeated abuse of a teen girl.

The 62-year-old man and the 54-year-old woman, who both suffer from a range of chronic illnesses, were sentenced before Lismore District Court last week.

Their abuse of the girl began when she was babysitting at their East Lismore home in 1989.

The pair defended the allegations and faced a joint trial.

The jury found them both guilty of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child between late 1989 to early 1991 in East Lismore, Murwillumbah and other locations.

6. Stepfather jailed for “work trip” rape

A NORTHERN Rivers man who raped his stepson after taking him on a work trip won’t be eligible for parole until at least December 2024.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, began by inappropriately touching the 15-year-old in their motel room in July, 2013.

But this escalated to raping the boy for several minutes and threatening him not to tell anyone about the incident.

The man was arrested in 2018 and, last June, Judge Mark Williams sentenced him to nine years behind bars, six of those without parole.