Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Neil Lester Johnson - A filthy pedophile - 13 years is not enough

A "notorious" sexual predator who kidnapped a seven-year-old girl from her bed, raped her in the mud and left her alone and half-naked in a dark alley was sentenced today to 13 years in prison.

Neil Lester Johnson, 32, will be a monitored sex offender for 20 years and must submit his DNA to the national databank.

"In this case, the accused invaded the safety and security of a private residence and made off with the child; the stark horror of that event cannot be overstated," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Terry Clackson said.

"From a child's perspective, what happened here is at the base of all boogeyman fears. (This little girl) was forced to live through it."

Clackson gave Johnson 22 months credit for the time he spent behind bars awaiting trial, so he has 11 years and two months left to serve.

The girl was sleeping over at a friend's Bonnie Doon home and was asleep on the living-room floor when Johnson came in through the open back door. He lit a match.

"He holded it close by his face, and he looked like he had an idea or something, to come and get someone," the child told a police detective after the attack. "The bad guy put his hand over my mouth. I was trying to scream. He picked me up and ran." Using dolls and drawings, the little girl told detectives about the rape.

"He said that he would break my neck and he said that he would kill me if I didn't stay still. I just took a deep breath and listened to him.

"It hurt; I put my hands up to push him away. He said, 'You don't want to die, right?' So I just started to be brave and let him keep doing it." When it was over, he told her to go stand behind a shed. At some point, she called out: "Are you still there?" When she heard no answer, she came out and looked for her pyjama bottoms, but couldn't find them in the dark. She ran for help.

"I went to five or six houses, and no one answered," she told the detective. "I went to another home and said, 'Please answer, please answer.' " A woman let her in, wrapped her in a quilt and called police.

"The child was shivering, very cold, wet and dirty," the woman testified during the trial. "Her hair was wet and matted. The most alarming thing was that she was only partially clothed." Police searched for months, but could not find the attacker. It wasn't until 2003 that detectives reopened the cold case and got a DNA hit in the national databank.

A forensic scientist told the jury the odds of a random match to the DNA found on the child's pyjamas are one in 890 billion. Johnson was a match.

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