A Queensland man given seven life sentences after repeatedly raping and torturing a woman for three weeks in one of the state’s most horrific crimes says “no one is helping” him as he attempts an appeal.
Nicholas John Crilley was given one of the toughest sentences in Queensland history when he brutally assaulted the then 22-year-old woman so badly that paramedics thought she was dead.
Crilley appeared in Brisbane District Court on Monday via videolink from Woodford Correctional Centre as part of an application to withdraw his guilty pleas for the 23-day assault in Bulimba in June 2017.
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The application was part of Crilley’s attempt to challenge his sentences in the Court of Appeal.
Crilley’s victim was left permanently disfigured after suffering multiple broken bones, internal injuries, deep lacerations as well as burns to 46 per cent of her body.
Doctors placed the woman in an induced coma, and she spent eight weeks in hospital recovering, which included learning to speak, eat and walk again.
He was convicted in 2020 of 62 offences – including supplying a dangerous drug, 18 counts of rape, sexual assault, grievous bodily harm, serious assault, deprivation of liberty and torture.
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Judge Anthony Rafter said he did not consider the matter to be before the court as Crilley, who represented himself, had not filed an application and had missed the deadline to do so.
“Between July 27 and November 1, nothing was done … a victim of crime is being kept in a state of uncertainty for an inordinate amount of time because of Mr Crilley’s inaction,” Judge Rafter said.
Crilley began crying and sobbing during his response, describing his offences as “horrendous” but also alleging his barrister “took full advantage” of him after seven other lawyers quit his case within a 33-month period.
“I was forced into it. I was never told I’d get a life sentence,” Crilley said.
Crilley claimed a COVID-imposed videolink at the sentencing prevented him from objecting to the court making references to him having committed offences he said were not supported by evidence.
“Nobody wants to touch my file. No one wants to help me,” he said.
Crilley also claimed he had wanted to take the victim to hospital, and disputed the prosecution’s description of the unit where the victim was found as a “rape and torture dungeon”.
Rafter said it might take until next year to hear the application. No fixed date was made.
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