Robert Wilson was discussing plans to move in with a woman he met online just days before he locked her inside his home and held her prisoner.
Five days of horror followed for the woman, who in March 2019 was raped 18 times, humiliated and beaten until her face was so swollen she could no longer see.
Wilson told the woman if she tried to run away from his home, northwest of Melbourne, he would kill her, deport her or turn her into a “money-making machine” by inviting men around to have sex with her.
Wilson’s Darley property was surrounded by metal shutters and an electric fence, with security cameras tracking her every move. She could not leave his bedroom without a security alarm going off.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
He beat her with a metal bar, held a speargun to her head, strangled her, forced her to engage in sex and asked her “do you want to die?”
He forced her to transfer him money and deleted her phone and Facebook contacts.
When friends noticed the woman was missing, he manipulated them and forced her to film videos to send to them.
After four days, he decided to drive his victim interstate. Along the way, he directed her in a chilling video that he would later send to her friends.
He told her to nod or shake her head in response to questions including if she felt safe with him, whether he had been hitting her and if she wanted to stay with him.
They made it to Adelaide and then drove back to his home, where he raped her again.
He released her after five days, on March 29. He drove her to her house and demanded incriminating Facebook posts by her friends be deleted and that she not tell anyone what had happened.
Wilson, 35, who appeared by video link, was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison by County Court Judge Fiona Todd on Friday.
He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, three counts of rape, theft and intentionally causing injury.
Wilson, who will be a registered sex offender for life, must serve at least 16 years before he is eligible for parole.
Wilson’s offending was “grossly horrific”, Judge Todd said.
She wanted to ensure his sentence reflected the gravity of the attacks and the seriousness of intimate partner violence.
“This was boundless cruelty,” she said.
“Rape is fundamentally an act of violence, which occurred in this case within a broader range of other violent and degrading acts.
“The episode of driving into the night in your car must have been particularly terrifying, and the return to your house on the Friday morning particularly devastating.”
She said the offending had a catastrophic impact on the victim, who cannot contemplate ever being in another relationship with a man.
“She was paralysed with fear much of the time you harmed her, but her will to survive was strong,” Judge Todd said, reading the victim impact statement.
“She said she feels different now, thinks that she will never be normal again.”
It took two months for the woman’s facial swelling to subside from the beatings and she still suffers nightmares from the ordeal.
Judge Todd praised the victim’s “herculean” efforts in describing the attacks to her friends, police, the courts and for enduring days of cross-examination.
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)