Court hears of death threat

A LAUNCESTON man accused of molesting his step-daughter told the alleged victim to keep quiet or she would end up like missing German backpacker Nancy Grunwaldt, a court has heard.

In an unusual development the man was able to cross-examine his alleged victim, who was in another room appearing via video link, in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday.

The girl, who was 17 at the time, said the man would often ask to have sex with her.

On one occasion last year he came into her bedroom and tried to touch her "breasts and genitalia".

"Did you want (him) to touch you in this way?" police prosecutor Kerryn Barwick asked.

"It was repulsive to hear and I always said `no'," the girl said.

After she rejected him the man grabbed her by the face and told her not to say anything or she would "end up like Nancy Grunwaldt".

"(He said) he would rape me, put me in a hole and nobody would ever find me," she said.

Ms Grunwaldt was last seen on the East Coast on March 12, 1993, and is suspected dead in what remains one of the state's most high profile and baffling cold cases.

The girl continued her evidence, saying her step-father had picked up a knife and threatened her with it. She fled the house and ran to a service station for help.

The accused, who has pleaded not guilty to assault with indecent intent and common assault, repeatedly shook his head during her evidence.

In cross-examination he suggested it was the girl who'd constantly followed him around and picked out a platinum ring she wanted him to buy her.

"No, it was never my idea. I never wanted to do anything with him," she said, suggesting the defendant was "delusional".

The man stated if he really was a "paedophile" he could have abused the girl away from the home where they spent a lot of time.

Constable Gavin Storay said he attended the petrol station the morning of the alleged incident.

"She was very distressed, frightened, concerned for her safety," he said.

"She said her step-dad had assaulted her, he'd been touching her and trying to have sex with her."

CCTV footage of the girl running into the service station was played to the court.

The man has also pleaded not guilty to committing emotional and economic abuse against the girl's mother, who he'd been in a relationship with for 16 years.

The woman told the court that he'd been very controlling and rarely gave her access to her own money.

The man disputed this, saying she had a vehicle and a mobile phone.

Their son gave evidence that the man had never abused or threatened the mother.

The hearing continues.

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