Six of the alleged rape victims of John Collins outside Brisbane District Court.
Six of the alleged rape victims of John Collins outside Brisbane District Court.

Convicted rapist sentenced to jail after pleading innocence

A JUDGE has labelled a serial rapist "cunning, devious and dishonest" as he sentenced him to serve 80% of a 20-year jail term.

John Collins, 74, was convicted after trial of sexually assaulting seven women, raping six of them, on his yacht, the Pan Pacific, off the Queensland coast between the Whitsundays and the Gold Coast from 1986 to 2000.

He would place newspaper advertisements asking for the women to fill a nanny position, looking after his young son.

Collins would then lure them into his cabin where he raped them at various ports including the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Bundaberg and on a deserted island off Hamilton Island.

The offences came to light when one woman spoke to a newspaper about her experience and others came forward with similar tales.

During his sentencing hearing in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday, Collins maintained he was "an innocent man" and the women had lied despite the jury's findings.

Crown prosecutor David Nardone said the sexual offending had a distressing impact on the seven victims, especially the two who fell pregnant and were forced to terminate.

He said the lack of serious violence was only because he had drugged four of the women before the sexual offending and had them isolated on his yacht off the coast.

Mr Nardone said three of the six raped women were raped multiple times.

He said there was pre-meditation and pre-planning involved.

"The picture painted against Mr Collins was a man that preyed on young women and lured them to his yacht where he was able to isolate them and ... commit the offences against them," he said.

"He used drugs and isolation to achieve his goals."

Mr Nardone said the long delay in the case reaching a conclusion because Collins fled twice and had to be extradited back to Queensland.

He said medical reports tendered on Collins' behalf did not suggest he was less culpable for his actions because of his mental heath conditions, nor that his illness was the root cause of the offending.

Mr Nardone said Collins' business acumen and financial success at the time of the rapes did not fit with a person suffering mental illness.

Collins, representing himself, told the court he was missing a third of his front lobe after an accident but it was not him who tried to send the case through the Mental Health Court.

"How can you have remorse for people who are talking false things about you?" he said.

"They were my lovers. They weren't raped."

Judge Nicholas Samios said Collins would have to take the matter to the Court of Appeal if he wanted to contest the jury's findings.

Collins has spent 572 days in pre-sentence custody.


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