A man has been jailed for the terrifying, humiliating and degrading knifepoint rapes of two women committed more than 30 years ago in Victoria.
Pieter George Hendriks avoided detection for the attacks until his DNA sample for a drug offence in NSW in 2013 matched those of his two victims.
The County Court heard on Friday that Hendriks was in his mid-20s and a married boiler maker with two children when he subjected the women to multiple acts of violation and self gratification in 1983 and 1984.
Judge Frank Saccardo told Hendriks, now 55, his victims “have lived for 30 years” without knowing the identity of the perpetrator of “these terrible crimes”.
Judge Saccardo said that fact should not be forgotten, nor that the women “have been exposed to the emotional trauma” of preparing their victim impact statements.
He also noted that Hendriks’ guilty pleas to charges that included aggravated rape had spared the women from giving evidence at a trial.
Hendriks was jailed for a maximum of 12 years and was ordered to serve a minimum of nine years before being eligible for parole.
On November 17, 1983, Hendriks waited for a store in Frankston to empty before he approached an employee from behind and held a knife to her neck.
He put a pair of socks in her mouth and demanded money, took $150 from the cash register then led her to the back room of the shop.
It was there he committed a number of serious sexual offences against the woman. Judge Saccardo said the woman later described feeling “absolutely terrified” and “too scared not to comply” with his repeated demands.
In the second attack, also in Frankston, on January 16, 1984, Hendriks entered a car armed with a knife and told the woman, 33, a mother of two waiting for her husband, to drive to a car park.
Once there, he robbed her of $220, told her to undress and then performed a number of sexual acts that culminated in raping her.
The woman later described in a statement the terror she experienced as he held a knife to her throat and believed he would kill her.
“It is trite for me to say in the circumstances … that your offending against each of your victims involved acts of significant violence against them, both threatened and actual,” Judge Saccardo said.
He noted the prosecution had put that Hendriks’ offer to plead guilty in April this year to the offences involved no attempt by him to diminish the gravity of his crimes or to quarrel with the statements of his victims.
It was also conceded by the prosecution that in the absence of his admissions, the charges to which he later admitted – two counts each of aggravated rape and aggravated indecent assault and two of armed robbery – would have substantially been based on DNA evidence and involved a long and complex trial.
The woman subjected to the first offences described in her victim impact statement ongoing distrust of people, especially men, feeling nervous around strangers and being unable to work alone.
“She attributes the demise of her marriage to her difficulties with trust and describes the reopening of this matter as reviving the feelings of terror, fear and threat for her life which she experienced at the time of your offending,” Judge Saccardo told Hendriks.
The second victim, he said, “speaks of the terror she felt when you entered her car and placed a knife to the side of her body, her thoughts about her husband and her daughters and her belief at that time she was going to die”, he said.
Thirty years after the offences, she “describes feeling nervous and nauseous if she has to go through Frankston” and the trauma and uncertainty of awaiting the results of AIDS testing, he added.
A long-time drug user, Hendriks was described by his lawyer as having led a lonely and reclusive life since the 1990s.
In a letter to the court, he wrote, Judge Saccardo said, of feeling “utter regret” for the consequences of his crimes on the victims.
“I’ve had a terrible life and if I have to spend the rest of it in jail I don’t believe that this would be adequate, because no matter how bad I believe my life has been, the lives of my victims, their family and friends would have been worse,” Hendriks wrote.
“I can only imagine the horror I have caused and the only person responsible for that is me.”
In sentencing him, Judge Saccardo took into account that the offences were committed 30 years ago and that Hendriks has not subsequently committed similar crimes.
His guilty pleas also indicated remorse and entitled him to a significant discount.
Judge Saccardo felt it was appropriate to make it clear for the benefit of the two victims that the sentences he imposed for the sexual offences were identical and that in fixing the amount of accumulation to those sentences, “I have given effect to the principle of totality which is a fundamental feature of the sentencing principles which I must apply”.
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