75-year-old rapist expects to die in jail

A MAN who drugged and raped three women aboard his yacht during the '80s and '90s will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

John Collins, 75, was found guilty this week in the Brisbane District Court of nine offences, including five rapes, stemming from separate events which occurred between 1987 and 1999.

The week-long trial heard Collins lured the women, who cannot be identified, to his yacht under the guise of work on the high seas while he captained the yacht to exotic locations.

The court heard instead of heading to exotic locations he drugged and raped them before the yacht had left Bundaberg, Mooloolaba or Gold Coast marinas.

All three women, two of whom live in the Ipswich region, have been waiting nearly two decades for justice to be served.

Judge Michael Shanahan sentenced Collins to seven years and eight months behind bars, giving consideration to his age and health issues as well as the fact he had already spent 1040 days in custody which was not declarable as time served.

He declared Collins a serious violent offender, which means he must serve at least 80% of the sentence before applying to be released.

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Crown Prosecutor David Nardone said on Wednesday Collins was a serial and predatory offender.

He said Collins had a criminal history in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia including one conviction in 1992 for indecently assaulting a then 17-year-old.

"He was aged between 49 and 61 years of age when these offences occurred," he said.

"His criminal history in general shows a complete lack of respect for the law, especially in relation to sexual offences."

Mr Nardone submitted three victim impact statements on behalf of the women, in which they spoke of the ongoing trauma, isolation, trust issues and relationship problems they had endured.

"He was preying on young women, luring them to his yacht, drugging them and then raping them," Mr Nardone said.

"One woman even fell pregnant after he raped her resulting in the termination of the pregnancy.

"DNA taken at the time showed Collins was the father."

Before sentence was passed defence barrister Carl Heaton said Collins would more than likely spend the rest of his days behind bars.

"He knows there is a significant probability he will die in custody."


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