Victim ‘lives in fear’ of ex-boyfriend after violent abduction
PROSECUTORS are pushing for up to 12 years' imprisonment for a former Port Douglas chef who terrorised his ex-girlfriend before violently abducting her in an ordeal that has left her fearing the day he's released from jail.
"You went from being my protector to my predator overnight," the young woman said, confronting her attacker as he sat stoically in the Cairns Supreme courtroom dock.
Crown prosecutor Nigel Rees detailed the full extent of the horror that Daniel Lewis Matthew Rooney put the young woman through.
The pair had been together for about 18 months when she ended things in May 2017.
First the then-24-year-old stalked her for a month - including choking her until she was unconscious and breaking into her house - before snatching her from her own bed on June 14, 2017.
She woke up naked, with tape binding her wrists and across her mouth, in the back of a car being driven by Rooney, who taunted and intimidated the terrified woman.
He took her on a horror road trip from Port Douglas to Mount Molloy to a road behind Tinaroo Dam.
The ordeal lasted about 16 hours, involved avoiding two police stingers and ended with him deliberately driving the car off the Kuranda range with them still inside while mouthing "I'm sorry".
Mr Rees said the vehicle travelled 73m through the air before striking trees.
"I thought I was going to die," she said.
"I still struggle to come to terms with what you put me through.
"Daniel you put me through the worst days of my life."
On the night of the abduction she was already living in fear. Despite being on strict bail conditions banning him from Port Douglas, Rooney cut his way into her home with a knife and locked her friends, who stayed the night so she felt safe, in a room.
Then he sat next to her as she slept still holding the knife for 15 minutes before punching her with such force she was knocked unconscious and also wet herself. He removed her clothes and carried her to the car.
They drove around the Tablelands, her with a black eye so severe it closed up, stopping at a service station where she mouthed "help me" to the store attendant.
Mr Rees said unfortunately she had poor vision and couldn't make out what was said.
Later Rooney told her "don't do anything stupid and you won't get hurt".
The court heard he was arrested about two hours after driving the vehicle off the range.
Mr Rees said Rooney's sustained offending brought a jail term of 10 to 12 years in range, which would mean he would have to serve 80 per cent of the sentence before being eligible for parole. He also pushed for a serious violent offender declaration to be made even if the penalty was less than 10 years, which would also result in the Rooney serving 80 per cent.
"I fear of the day that you're released," the young woman told him.
Defence barrister Peter Feeney, instructed by Osborne Butler Lawyers, argued that nine years with parole eligibility at 50 per cent or more was also in range.
A letter from Rooney was tendered and partially read out by Justice James Henry in which he expressed his regret and that he was sorry.
Mr Feeney said Rooney had been a young man at the time and was still a young man at only 25 years old and he had pleaded guilty.
The court heard Rooney, who had been in custody since his arrest in June 2017, had been productive while in prison. He pleaded guilty last year to a raft of charges including choking, assault, stalking with violence, deprivation of liberty, burglary and dangerous driving.
"There were other aspects of his life that … put him in the position of being isolated from what was important to him," Mr Feeney said.
The court heard he'd also lost his job a couple of weeks before the relationship break down.
Justice James Henry, who presided over the matter, adjourned the sentence until March 12 so he could take some time to consider his penalty.