Man allegedly raped girl, 12, drugged mum with Travacalm
WARNING: Confronting content
A SALESMAN who repeatedly sexually molested his 12-year-old stepdaughter laced the girl's mother's drinks with Travacalm he crushed in their household meat tenderiser, a court had heard.
The mother was so frequently tired over two of the years her daughter was sexually assaulted that she joked on Facebook that her "husband could be slipping a bit of poison my way".
But the mother, who had noticed a bitter taste in her drinks and food and white flecks in her wine and Diet Coke, was convinced it was dishwasher soap.
The accused man has pleaded guilty to 99 child sex offences against the girl when she was aged between 12 and 16 years old.
But he denies administering an intoxicating substance to commit the 99 sex offences which he videotaped.
The Sydney District Court was played an explosive video recorded by the mother on her iPhone when she confronted her then husband about the sexual abuse, on January 13, 2014.
In the video of the dramatic confrontation, the mother can be heard screaming, "Has he been sexually molesting you? You are going to have to explain it."
The girl protests to the stepfather, "You tell Mum, this is not my fault".
When the mother refers to the stepfather as the girl's "Dad", the teenager snaps "he is not my father".
The distraught mother says, "Oh my God, this is a nightmare".
When she turned around her husband had taken off from the family home in his car.
When the woman asks "how has this been happening", the girl tells her mother, "he's been drugging you ... the white stuff that's been in your wine".
Crown Prosecutor Rohan Cooley asked the mother about the "frenzied" scenes on the iPhone video in which the girl admitted her stepfather had been molesting her.
"[Your daughter] said 'he's been assaulting me, he never leaves me alone, he's been at me for years?'."
The woman asks her daughter, "how do you know he drugged me?".
The daughter says: "Because he tells me. He buys Travacalm tablets and crushes them up in your drink.
"That's the white stuff in your drink."
When the mother asks the girl the extent of the sexual assault, she replies that he started off "by touching me" but agreed it had escalated to "full sex" in her bedroom.
"I didn't know what to do," the girl said. "I've been scared out of my mind to say anything."
The stepfather has pleaded not guilty to 22 counts of allegedly drugging the girl and not guilty to five counts of allegedly drugging the mother.
He has also pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a younger stepdaughter when she was aged 11.
Last month, the man pleaded guilty to 53 charges of aggravated sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16.
He also pleaded guilty to 25 charges of aggravated sexual intercourse with a person aged between 10 and 14, and nine assaults with act of indecency with a person under 16.
Guilty pleas were entered to two counts of possessing child abuse material, and one each of using a child for pornographic purposes and using a child over 14 to produce child abuse material.
The court heard that when police arrested the man in January 2014 and then searched the woman's home, they found several cameras, SD cards, prescription tranquillisers and Travacalm tablets.
The woman later found SD memory cards in the lining of his jacket, containing about 78 videos and 778 images which showed him sexually and indecently assaulting her daughter, the prosecution alleges.
At the time of the police search, the mother gave the police a metal meat tenderiser and told police her daughter told her the stepfather "used to crush up the drugs to drug me".
The mother, a businesswoman, told the court that she was often "comatose" after consuming drinks poured by her husband during two of the years he sexually assaulted his older stepdaughter.
She consulted doctors for what she nicknamed "the tired thing".
In one Facebook post she wrote, "every day I walk around in a fog, like something out of a Stephen King movie".
In a Facebook post in April 2013 she wrote, "my dinner tasted weird tonight. meanwhile I constantly feel tired and need sleep".
"Do you think my husband could be slipping a bit of poison my way?
"I'm just putting it out there in case anything happens to me."
The woman also gave evidence that she had discussed her constant tiredness with her husband and had speculated the white granules in her drinks were from "the dishwasher".
The accused man, who is defending himself, asked his former wife in cross examination if she might not have been tired because she was so busy with work and children.
"You had two full time jobs and seven children and you managed family finances and you managed business finances?" he said.
The mother agreed. Asked whether she was "highly busy", the woman replied "I was very busy, I still am."
Asking her about the Facebook "bit of poison" post, the accused said he had responded with his own comment "there are better ways than poison".
The man asked the woman how many times she had gone to the doctor for her tiredness and how many blood tests she'd had.
The woman responded that it had been two or three doctors' visits and blood tests.
The man argued that the mother had known about his sexual relationship with her daughter.
He said that on a family holiday to Queensland in 2012 the mother became frustrated with the amount of time he was spending with the daughter on early morning walks.
He asked the mother whether she hadn't realised then that an inappropriate relationship was occurring between the two.
The woman replied she "did express concern" and that 18 months before the man's arrest, her worries about the two had been growing.
The accused: "You continually woke up during the night to argument between [the girl] and I?"
The mother: "Yes".
The accused: "You didn't think as a mother to say anything?"
The mother: "I started to tell you to stay the f*** away from my daughter".
The trial before Judge Paul Conlon continues.