Launceston stepfather 'shocked, embarrassed' over rape accusation

A man accused of raping his stepdaughter told police the allegation turned him into a “nervous wreck”.

The 31-year-old is on trial in the Launceston Supreme Court accused of indecently assaulting and raping his partner’s 18-year-old daughter in 2013. On Friday, the jury was shown a police interview with the man from 2014.

During the interview he cried as he told police how “shocked, frustrated and embarrassed” he was when he realised someone he “treated like a daughter” had accused him of rape. The alleged victim claims her stepfather raped her after a night out at a venue where he was working as security in early 2013.

Earlier in the trial the now 22-year-old told the jury she remembers waking up in her mother and stepfather’s bed to find him on top of her, thrusting.

Her stepfather told police that on that night, she ended up in his bed because she was intoxicated and was worried she would choke on her own vomit. He said she fell asleep in fetal position “in case she spewed”.

“There was no point in time … that I was on top of her. I’ve never had sexual intercourse with (her),” he said.

The alleged victim’s mother was overseas at the time but eventually returned. During his police interview, the defendant said he was confronted by the mother in October that year after her and her daughter had an argument and the allegation against him was made.

The court previously heard the mother had asked her why she was being a “moody b----” and she said “ask your boyfriend”.

The stepfather said his partner asked him “did you touch my daughter?”.

He said he responded “I’ve never done that, I will never do that … she’s like a daughter to me”.

He told police he believed the daughter wanted to move to the Gold Coast where her father lived and that after she accused him of rape she relocated there with her younger sister.

“My whole life over the past nine years has been about bringing this family together … it’s a slap in the face,” he said.

The Crown closed its case on Friday and the defendant took the stand to give evidence – he continued to deny the allegations against him.

He has also been accused of attempting to touch his stepdaughter on the breasts, touching her vagina while he massaged her and slapping her on the butt.

The Crown prosecutor pressed him about his alleged “sexual attraction” to his stepdaughter and whether he began to notice how she looked and dressed as she “grew into a young adult”.      

He admitted to complimenting her but said it was “nothing out of the ordinary”.

“Where I come from there is a saying … if you don’t have food to give someone, nice words will do,” he said.

He told the court it was “normal” for him to be affectionate towards his stepdaughter, with the pair hugging and exchanging goodnight kisses even after the alleged sexual assault.

Defence lawyer Evan Hughes asked his client if he became sexually interested in the alleged victim.

“Not at any point,” the accused replied.

During her evidence, the complainant told the court that her stepfather was drinking with her regularly in the lead up to alleged rape and on one occasion she woke up with no clothes on.

The accused said he was “not a big drinker” and that in 2013, he was working two jobs, which included day and night shifts.

“I work a lot and I have to stay sober … I am always driving,” he said.

Mr Hughes asked his client if anything had changed between him and his stepdaughter in 2013.

The accused said they continued to have a “normal” relationship and there was “nothing to alarm” him about the night in question.

“Not until the accusation was made [in October],” he said.

“Did you have sexual intercourse with [her],” Mr Hughes asked.

“No,” the accused replied.

“Did you touch her breasts?” Mr Hughes asked.

“No,” the accused replied.

“Did you touch her vagina?” Mr Hughes asked.

The accused again answered ‘no’.

The trial before Justice Michael Brett will continue on Monday, with the accused to take the stand again.