A brave father who had his neck slashed while rescuing a seven-year-old girl from a rapist broke down in tears as he shared a powerful message to the young victim.
Nick Gilio confronted convicted rapist Anthony Paul Sampieri, 55, in the toilets of a Sydney dance hall as the ice addict raped the young girl in November 2018.
Sampieri pleaded guilty to three counts of child rape and seven other charges in June and was sentenced to life in prison in the NSW District Court on Wednesday.
Outside court, Mr Gilio said he was honoured to have rescued the brave, young ballet dancer and pleaded for her not to let the ‘evil break her’.
‘To our little dancer and to her family; it was an absolute, my honour to have served you and freed you from the hands of evil. I don’t regret a single second,’ he said.
Nick Gilio (pictured outside of court on Wednesday) broke down in tears as he shared a powerful message to the young victim
Anthony Peter Sampieri (pictured), 55, has been jailed for life over his sex attack on a seven-year-old girl in November 2018
‘Today is your day for justice. You day towards light and healing.
‘My wish for you is that you grow to be a healthy, confident, strong grounded young woman who is caring and compassionate towards others.
‘Do not let this scare you. Do not let this evil break who you are.
‘As for me there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think you – you are there for eternity. Although I will not be there in presence, I will always send my love to you in spirit.
‘You are now forever locked in my heart, you are my hero and you always will be and if we are to cross paths again please know it was only yesterday that I thought of you.’
Mr Gilio, who was left so damaged by the attack he was forced to quit his job as a diesel mechanic, said Sampieri’s life sentence had provided a ‘bit of closure for everyone’.
‘Life is life, let’s get him away from innocent victims and good people in general,’ he said.
‘This is a society we want to be living in, void of these cowards.’
Sampieri raped the girl in the bathroom (pictured) of a Kogarah dance studio
During the court hearing, Judge Paul Conlon thanked Mr Gilio for his heroism.
‘To you sir I would say this… everyone is indebted to you… for the courage you displayed in the face of a person welding a knife.’
Mr Gilio previously described the debilitating flashbacks and psychological damage the attack caused him, wishing Sampieri ‘pain, darkness and misery’ in jail.
‘The terror and feeling of a scalpel being dragged across the back of my neck with no thought for who I am… or my family,’ he told the court.
‘The flashbacks will… never stop. I was a happy go lucky man, I was active, I enjoyed exercising and socialising.’
Since the attack, Mr Gilio said he could no longer ride his motorbike and didn’t have the concentration to continue his career as a mechanic.
‘I feel as though a huge part of me has died on the night of that incident. I see all children as vulnerable. I feel as if I am responsible for protecting all children all the time. I feel frightened for them.’
Another man who stormed the locked toilet stall to rescue the girl was also stabbed in the ensuing struggle.
Nick Gilio (pictured outside of court in December last year) confronted convicted rapist Anthony Paul Sampieri, 55, in the toilets of a Sydney dance hall as the ice addict raped the young girl in November 2018
NICK GILIO’S FULL STATEMENT AFTER SENTENCING:
I’d like to start off by extending a huge thank you to the citizens and community of Kogarah, St George area of Sydney and Sydney as our city.
You have all shown this case compassion, respect integrity and honour with particular attention to the privacy of all parties involved.
A huge thank you to Jeffrey Stack for his assistance and strength in arresting this coward and also for his courage.
Members and employees of the press, thank you for treating this case in the same manner protecting the privacy of all involved especially the family of our little girl, the innocent victim of this heinous and despicable crime.
Crown Prosecutor Sally Stuart and her team at the Department of Public Prosecutions for their continued hard work and dedication also giving this matter the respect and integrity it deserves.
Same is to be said to the Sex Crimes Squad of Parramatta Area Command their dedication and compassion to us all has been consistent and endless. Continuing their support over the last 15 months working together with the DPP to ensure that we received our justice today.
This morning we were granted our justice not only for this case but for the many sexual assault cases that have gone before us.
Justice to those with a voice and justice to those who have fallen at the hands of these evil beings and who are without voice.
I hope that today’s justice has spoken for you all that we all have spoken for you and given you back your voice that was so cowardly stolen from you.
Today also belongs to you.
This is your justice also.
For those who have fallen may you all rest in peace.
Finally to our little dancer and to her family, it was absolutely my honour to have served you and freed you from the hands of evil.
I don’t regret a single second. Today is your day for justice, your day toward light and healing
My wish for you is for you to grow to be a healthy, confident, strong, grounded young woman who is caring and compassionate towards others, respectful and honourable with others and do not let this scar – do not let this scar you – and do not let this evil break who you are.
As for me there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of you. You are there for eternity. And although I will not be there in presence I will always send my love to you in spirit.
You are now forever locked in my heart, you are my hero and you always will be.
If we are to cross paths again please know it was only yesterday that I thought of you.
Thank you all, and God bless. Thank you.
Sampieri was sentenced for detaining the girl, choking her to commit a serious offence, committing two indecent acts while filming her, indecently assaulting her, and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He also pleaded guilty to seven charges over 94 offensive, menacing or harassing phone calls he made to women August to November 2018.
Court documents state the girl had just finished her jazz ballet class when she was attacked by Sampieri.
The girl had been waiting with her mother in the carpark for her sister’s class to finish when she returned to the hall to use the bathroom.
As she entered the female bathroom she was confronted by Sampieri, who had been in the bathroom watching porn for the past hour.
Witnesses Jeffrey Stack (left) and Nick Gilio speak to the media outside the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Wednesday
Jeffrey Stack, a former boxer, knocked Sampieri unconscious after he was found in the bathroom with the small girl
He grabbed her and pushed her into a cubicle but she resisted.
He then punched the seven-year-old in the face before locking the door.
Sampieri threatened her with a knife, tied a cord around her neck and dragged her to the male toilets.
‘She felt like she could not breathe,’ agreed facts state.
Maintaining a grip of the cord, he then subjected her to sexual acts before stuffing toilet paper into her mouth, binding her hands and leaving the bathroom.
Diesel mechanic Nick Gilio was with the girl’s mother when they noticed someone standing in a cubicle in men’s toilet during their frantic search.
Sampieri walked out of the bathroom and was asked if he’d seen the girl.
After telling them he hadn’t, the girl’s mother went into the bathroom to investigate. She was then followed by both men.
Police are seen coming to the aid of Mr Gilio after he was stabbed by Sampieri when he came to the girl’s aid
Sampieri admitted the rape and seven other offences during the attack
Her horrified screams echoed through the building as she was reunited with her daughter.
Mr Gilio grabbed Sampieri, slamming his head into the wall.
After grappling with Sampieri, Mr Gilio suffered large cuts but put the rapist in a headlock before dentist Jeffrey Stack ran in and knocked out Sampieri.
Dance teacher and local dentist Jeffrey Stack rushed to the bathroom after hearing the screams.
He found Sampieri attempting to free himself from the headlock by biting Mr Gilio.
Mr Stack then punched Sampieri hard in the face, knocking him out.
The rapist later told police he’d been ‘so high’ before the attack as a result of using methamphetamine earlier that day.
THE MONSTER OF KOGARAH: HOW A LITTLE GIRL’S NIGHTMARE UNFOLDED
November 15, 2018:
Anthony Sampieri, 55, goes to a dance studio bathroom in Kogarah to take meth and watch porn on his phone.
6.48pm: A seven-year-old, wearing a black, silver and grey dance outfit, waits with her mother in the carpark for her sister’s dance class to finish.
She walks back to the hall to use the bathroom when she is confronted by Sampieri.
Sampieri grabs her but she tries to resist.
He punches her in the face before dragging her into a cubicle and locking the door.
The girl then has a black cord tied around her neck and is threatened with a knife.
He drags her to the male bathroom where he sexually assaults her.
7.30pm: A desperate search begins after the girl fails to return to her mother.
The victim’s mother and another parent, Nick Gilio, find Sampieri lurking in the bathroom before discovering the girl is also trapped inside.
A fight breaks out between Sampieri and Mr Gilio.
Mr Gilio suffers a serious cut to his stomach but manages to get Sampieri in a headlock.
He suffers more cuts to his wrist, neck and ear. Despite suffering serious injuries, Mr Gilio holds Sampieri in the headlock on the ground.
Sampieri is attempting to bite Mr Gilio when dance teacher Jeffrey Stack bursts into the room and punches Sampieri in the face.
7.56pm: Police arrive to find Sampieri naked from the waist down and covered in blood.
The victim is taken to Randwick Children’s Hospital.