29 Nov 2018

'Beast of Blenheim' Stewart Murray Wilson jailed for more historical rape charges - but will lodge an appeal

11:55 am on 29 November 2018

The serial rapist dubbed the Beast of Blenheim has been sent back to jail for more historical rapes.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Stewart Murray Wilson appeared in the High Court at Auckland this morning after a jury found him guilty of raping a woman and a nine-year-old girl, among other offences, nearly 50 years ago. He was sentenced to two years and four months' imprisonment.

Wilson's lawyer Andrew McKenzie said he had been instructed to lodge an appeal against both the convictions and sentence.

Wilson was jailed for 21 years in 1996 for violent sexual attacks on women over more than two decades.

The 71-year-old appeared in the dock clutching a handful documents this morning, having grown a beard since his trial in October.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey submitted Wilson should be jailed for three years, adding it was in no way a reflection of the seriousness of the offending.

Mr McCoubrey said the sentencing was an academic exercise as Wilson had been previously jailed for 21 years.

He said the youngest victim, who was raped when she was nine years old, only came forward in 2012 and could not be considered by Justice Heron at Wilson's 1996 sentencing.

Wilson's defence lawyer Andrew McKenzie said the further offending would not have made a lot of difference, if any, to the sentence outcome if it had been part of the 1996 case.

He said the victims in this year's case had been acknowledged in the verdicts, and submitted no further punishment be imposed.

Justice Lang was restricted in sentencing Wilson, as a judge had previously jailed him for 21 years for crimes that happened in the same time period.

He said the offending was serious and, if dealt with in isolation, would have warranted a starting point of at least seven years imprisonment.

Justice Lang said the womens' victim impact statements had made for harrowing reading and he had no doubt they continued to be haunted by Wilson's offending.

He adopted a starting point of two years and eight months imprisonment and, after a discount for his age, jailed him for two years and four months' imprisonment.

Wilson pleaded not guilty to a number of sex charges relating to the rapes of three women and a girl in the 1970s.

A handwritten letter Wilson wrote for the court before his sentencing today:

Throughout the trial the jury, who were not told about Wilson's history, heard from four complainants who each told them they were raped by him at different times.

One of the complainants said Wilson had broken into her home and subjected her to repeated rapes throughout the night.

After seven hours of deliberations, the jurors delivered mixed verdicts.

They found him guilty of 11 charges including rape, attempted rape and indecency with a girl under 12 and not guilty of two charges of rape and one charge of indecent assault.

They couldn't agree on two other charges, one of indecent assault and one of threatening to kill, for which Justice Lang discharged Wilson.

After the verdicts were delivered, Justice Lang told the jurors about Wilson's history, and the similarities in both time and nature of his past offending and offending in this years case.

Wilson's past convictions include rape, bestiality, stupefying and ill-treatment of children.

He had served every day of his 21-year sentence but still lives on the Whanganui Prison ground - outside the wire - on an extended supervision order with stringent conditions.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs