A man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an intellectually disabled woman who had the IQ of a three-year-old after luring her into bushes at a popular park.
The 74-year-old approached the woman, in her 20s, while she headed through the Gold Coast park to a café in June 2016 and asked her if she wanted to have sex – to which she replied no.
Wayne Clifford Howlett then led the woman into nearby bushes, undressed her and sexually assaulted her by touching her, a court heard on Tuesday, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
A man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an intellectually disabled woman who had the IQ of a three-year-old at a popular park on the Gold Coast (stock image)
Judge Katherine McGinness said she was considering ‘actual custody’ for the offence, rather than a suspended sentence recommended by the prosecution.
The judge adjourned the matter until next week and granted Howlett bail so she could read psychological reports, which were only received just before the hearing.
‘I’m going to have to look at the material because in my view, actual custody is something I am considering. This is what I’m considering at the moment. I still haven’t had the opportunity to read the reports properly.’ Judge McGinness said.
The woman is believed to have an intellectual disability and the mental capacity of a three-year-old.
In a victim impact statement read to court, the woman’s mother said before the attack, her daughters confidence had gradually grown, giving her a level of independence in the community.
Since the assault, however, the mother said her daughter has become withdrawn and is scared of people she does not know.
Crown prosecutor Kathleen Christopherson said Howlett had a history of lewd behaviour, and had been convicted of ‘peeping’ and indecent exposure in the 80s and 90s.
‘It’s clear specific deterrents are needed in this case. General deterrents are also needed to send a message to those who offend against the most vulnerable in our community in this kind of way that it will be dealt with seriously by the courts,’ Ms Christopherson said.
She requested a 12-month suspended prison sentence.
The South port Court judge adjourned the matter until next week and granted Howlett bail so she could read psychological reports which were only received just before the hearing