Stepdad jailed for ‘torturous’ sex attacks
A girl who was abused by her stepfather from the age of four wore layers of clothing to bed, no matter how hot it was, in an attempt to protect herself.
She would roll herself up in sheets and blankets, becoming drenched in sweat during the summer in Queensland.
The little girl was scared to sleep, forcing herself to stay awake for as long as possible, hoping to protect herself from the "torturous" pain of the sexual abuse.
She took the measures in fear of Shaune Timothy O'Farrell, who abused her for a decade.
Now aged 28, the woman says "the poison of these crimes" has seeped into every aspect of her life.
"My childhood was stolen and nothing in my life afterwards has come easily," she said in a statement read in court.
As a teenager, she moved school and house, was forced to end friendships and was not allowed to tell anyone she lived with O'Farrell to avoid exposing the abuse.
"I was made to rehearse lines of how to respond if I was ever questioned about the abuse or my home living situation," she said.
"My whole high school social life was turned into a terrifying ordeal, one where I was made to believe that one wrong move could potentially have me ripped away from my mother and have me put in foster care."
O'Farrell was sentenced in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday to five years' jail.
He admitted to 17 counts of rape and indecently treating the girl over a decade.
Most of the offences occurred at their house, some while she was asleep and one while her leg was in a cast, crown prosecutor Jacqueline Ball told the court.
It was persistent conduct over an extended period and a gross breach of trust, Judge Tony Moynihan said.
He accepted a letter of apology from O'Farrell to the woman, but said she might regard it as too little, too late.
"But you do seem to have some insight into the devastating consequences your actions have had on her," Judge Moynihan told O'Farrell.
The court heard O'Farrell was previously convicted for providing karate classes for children without having a blue card.
O'Farrell will be eligible for parole after serving 20 months.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.