WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers may find upsetting
A Brisbane man has been sentenced to life in prison for what prosecutors called the “sadistic” torture of a woman that left her with broken facial bones and burns to almost half her body.
Nicholas John Crilley, 34, pleaded guilty in the District Court in Brisbane to more than 50 charges, including torture and deprivation of liberty.
The court heard Crilley attacked the woman, who was 22 at the time, over several weeks at a Bulimba unit in June and July 2017.
He repeatedly filled a kettle with boiling water and threw it on the victim and poured acetone on her legs, the court was told.
During Crilley’s sentencing hearing, crown prosecutor Sandra Cupina told the court when ambulance officers found the woman in the unit, they initially thought she was dead until she started groaning.
“The gravity and the horror the complainant would have been experiencing is almost unimaginable,” Ms Cupina said.
“The defendant subjected the complainant to severe physical, psychological and sadistic violence.”
In a statement read aloud in court by the victim, she described the pain she suffered throughout her rehabilitation and that she still faced today.
“I continue to have memory flashbacks of the severe pain I have endured and the humiliating and depraved acts I have had to endure, which have caused me to have PTSD,” she told the court.
“I was a strong independent woman who has had hardship in her life, but the effect that this trauma has had on me is unprecedented.
“Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore.
“It’s like I’m not even living, not in the moment, always on the lookout, scared for my safety, and worried about what is going to happen next, or more the fact, of the unknown.”
‘It takes courage to face each day’
She described the incident as “shattering” and “life-altering”.
“I’m glad I have survived and I have the opportunity to reclaim my life,” she told the court.
“However, I need the court to know that it takes courage to face each day and not allow these events to take over my life and the future I want to have.”
The court heard Crilley stole several cars to evade police but was eventually arrested on July 10, 2017.
Defence barrister Malcolm Harrison said Crilley held a “baseless” belief the woman had been involved in a drive-by shooting that targeted him.
Mr Harrison told the court Crilley was using methylamphetamine at the time of the offending and had written a letter of apology to the woman.
Crilley called an ambulance anonymously on July 2, 2017, which was how paramedics found the woman, the court heard.
“That’s probably the one factor in his favour out of this whole absolutely dreadful affair,” Mr Harrison said.
Crilley’s ‘remorse’ questionable
In sentencing, Judge Anthony Rafter SC described Crilley’s treatment of the woman as “callous and cruel”.
“My impression of your character is that you are motivated by self-interest and I doubt your expressions of remorse are genuine,” Judge Rafter said.
“You took pleasure in the infliction of pain.
“Your brutality took her to the edge of death.
“The victim’s life will never be the same yet, despite the terrible ordeal she has suffered, she displays courage, dignity and resilience.”