Mum’s horror discovery of ‘tired’ daughter
A MUM who baffled doctors with her and her 12-year-old daughter's unexplainable tiredness has revealed her horror at discovering the sinister reason why they were both so lethargic - her partner was drugging them both so he could sexually assault her daughter.
Sydney woman Rachel, whose identity has been protected by the court, was with Timothy James Stewart for several years before the "monster" was unmasked.
The 45-year-old was sentenced to 32 years behind bars for grooming and abusing the girl, from ages 12-15 in November 2017 - and now Rachel is sharing the true torment she and her daughter endured.
Explaining they'd both been extremely tired before the truth came out, Rachel said she remembers the moment everything clicked, in a column she wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Stewart had been complaining about her daughter no longer calling him "Dad" anymore and when Rachel quizzed her as to why, she told her: "You don't know him. You have no idea who he really is.
"The minute she said it, I knew. A pit opened up in my stomach. I told him, 'Everything she says, points to you being inappropriate with her'."
Busted after years of abuse, the paedophile fled their home in the Blue Mountains - but was arrested just hours later.
However, it took four years for the case to come to a conclusion, with Stewart being sentenced to serve at least 24 years behind bars before he's eligible for parole.
"This type of offending is simply incomprehensible," Sydney District Court Judge Paul Conlon said when sentencing Stewart at the time.
HORRIFYING NUMBER OF OFFENCES
Stewart, pleaded guilty to 99 charges relating to the abuse and a jury later found him guilty of a further 28 offences, including drugging the girl and her mother, rape and sexual assault as well as indecent assault of her younger sister too.
When Rachel asked "how has this been happening", her daughter replied, "he's been drugging you ... the white stuff that's been in your wine".
Thankfully, despite beginning to target Rachel's youngest daughter, whose age is undisclosed, his abuse was uncovered before he'd had a chance to move onto her.
Stewart went to great lengths to hide his "vile" behaviour, destroying letters the youngest daughter had written to raise the alarm and secretly storing explicit images on an iPhone app which looked like a calculator.
But memory cards devoted to his pedophilic acts eventually proved to be the condemning evidence that drew a guilty verdict in late 2017.
STEWART'S SICK DEFENCE
Stewart is now in a maximum-security prison where he feared he would become a target because of the crimes he committed.
The then 45-year-old former salesman failed to have his name remain secret, after pleading in vain that revealing his identity would place him under threat from prison inmates.
Once his desperate plea to have his identity suppressed was denied by a judge, distressing details of his horrendous crimes were revealed, including claiming in his trial the girl had initiated sex with him and they were "like a married couple".
"That was part of his defence ... on the stand, that she instigated it, she tried to seduce him," Rachel told radio station 2GB after the guilty verdict.
"She was devastated by those statements."
Stewart's failed defence, which at times tested the patience of NSW District Court Judge Paul Conlon, meant Rachel's daughter endured more than two days on the witness stand.
The horrified mum also revealed that even after police charged Stewart, he continued to fool his own relatives with feigned innocence.
From his prison cell Stewart also wrote her a scheming letter, a desperate attempt to groom her into supporting him.
"He wrote me a letter on how hard life was being in jail," Rachel said.
"I do believe it was an attempt to make me feel sorry for him.
"Once he found out it was clear I was standing by my children and the police, he delayed proceedings.
"All part of the process to intimidate and try to suppress me for a criminal trial."
'JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED'
It was these lengthy delays to the court case that caused the family additional stress and as a result, Rachel is now supporting a campaign to build a South-West Sydney Justice Precinct in an effort to streamline the entire system.
"They say justice delayed is justice denied," she said. "I was denied justice for far too long because of the lack of court facilities in south-western Sydney. It need not keep happening."
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)