Sex offender eats poison-laced Snickers bar after guilty verdict
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As a jury began delivering a guilty verdict for historical child sex offending, Vincent* reached for a Snickers bar he had hidden in his pocket.
Unbeknown to those in the Victorian court, the 76-year-old man had laced the chocolate bar with a poisonous substance.
The 76-year-old sex offender faced court on Monday, after an attempt to end his life in June.Credit: Darrian Taylor
Shortly after eating the poisoned Snickers on the day of his conviction in June, Vincent fell to the floor and was rushed to hospital.
“The moment that first guilty charge was read out, that’s when he consumed the Snickers bar,” defence lawyer Fraser Cameron said on Monday.
“[That’s] how he handled the verdict. He was fearful.”
On Monday, Vincent faced the County Court from prison for the first time since surviving the failed courtroom attempt on his own life.
Dressed in prison greens, he appeared emotionless throughout the hearing.
The court heard that, before he ate the poisoned chocolate and collapsed, a jury found Vincent guilty of two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and two counts of committing indecent acts with a child under 16.
Cameron said that three months on, his client had recovered “significantly” from the incident, which caused a shoulder injury and compound dislocation of his little finger when he fell to the floor. Significant kidney issues remained ongoing though, he said.
“The treatment for his injuries after the verdict has been successful,” Cameron said.
Vincent began abusing a young girl after the death of her father, the court heard.
Prosecutor Fiona Martin said that over the following decade, as the abuse continued, Vincent tried to silence his victim and threatened to kill her remaining family members if she dared disclose what was going on. The abuse happened more than 30 years ago in regional Victoria.
In an impact statement read to the court, the victim spoke of the harrowing, almost-daily abuse she suffered since she was about four years old.
She described her abuser as an evil monster, who preyed on her family and made sure there was no escape.
“I was the scared little girl who cried herself to sleep, wishing my father came back to save me,” she said.
“My adulthood is still tormented by your insanity. I was [your] favourite mistake.
“My entire childhood, I was groomed and abused.”
The woman, whose hand shook as she read out her statement, said she was still haunted by the abuse but was determined not be defined by it.
She hoped whatever sentence her abuser received would help shine a light on the life-long damage child sexual abuse caused.
“I am a survivor,” she said.
“I am not what happened to me – I am what I chose to become.”
The court heard that a psychological review of Vincent after the attempted suicide found he did not suffer from any mental illness, but chose to poison himself as a way of “handling” the jury’s guilty verdict.
“He has stabilised [while] in custody,” his lawyer said.
Vincent faces being jailed for up to a decade. He will be sentenced at a later date as a serious sex offender.
*Not his real name. The offender’s name has been changed to protect the identity of the victim.
If you or anyone you know needs support call Kidshelpline 1800 55 1800, Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.
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