Sexual predator cruised streets for girls needing a lift home

For a year, a sexual predator cruised central Christchurch’s early morning streets looking for solitary girls who needed a ride home.

Layton John Thorne would offer them lifts but he admits his motive was to find sex partners for the night.

His plan eventually went awry twice and he stood ashamed at the Christchurch District Court as Judge Michael Crosbie jailed him for eight years and three months.

The judge acknowledged Thorne’s two teenage victims in the courtroom, telling the 31-year-old predator: “Both of them should feel no blame or shame about what occurred because all of the blame and all of theshame rests with you.”

One dived out of Thorne’s car as he drove it along Wainoni Road at about 50km/h.

Thorne raped the other one in the car at Waimairi Beach seven months later. A jury found him guilty of attempting to kidnap the first young woman, and he then pleaded guilty to raping the second one, before the second trial began a week later.

Both young women had been picked up in the central city as late as 5.30am.

“It is an increasingly common theme to see young women who have been picked up in the early hours of the morning when they are often looking for ways to get home, and they are taken advantage of,” the judge said.

“If any good comes out of this process, I hope it is a salutary reminder to those in our community that they must always be watchful for those who seek and prey on those who appear vulnerable or drunk or in needof a hand.”

He said one young woman had been left permanently scarred by the grazes she received when she dived from the moving car.

She was now nervous, worried, and uncomfortable around strangers and found it difficult to trust people.

The other 19-year-old woman had been raped and had been worried about the possibility of pregnancy or sexual transmitted disease.

She had since felt disgusted, sad, lonely and emotional. She had horrific nightmares and flashbacks, and was mistrustful.

“You have significantly and violently and grossly affected the lives of two young women who will never forget what you did to them,” the judge said.

Defence counsel Stephen Hembrow said Thorne was remorseful and expressed his apologies to the victims and their families.

Published in: on November 22, 2007 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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