A man has been jailed for 12 years after he lured a young girl from a park in Sydney’s north, gave her the drug ice and sexually assaulted her multiple times at his home and in his car.
Brett John Callaghan, then 37, had taken a child known to him to the Brickpit Park playground at Thornleigh on the afternoon of April 28, 2020 when he saw the 12-year-old girl, given the pseudonym Maria, who was waiting at the park for a friend.
Maria’s mother had dropped her off at a shopping centre that morning to spend the day with a friend, however that friend went home at about 3.25pm and Maria arranged for another friend to stay with her at the park until her mother picked her up at 4.30pm.
Before the second friend arrived, Callaghan approached Maria, whose phone had run out of charge, and offered to charge her phone if she came with him “five minutes down the road”.
Callaghan pointed out the presence of the other child in the car and Maria agreed to go with him. It was the start of a nine-and-a-half hour ordeal that would end with police discovering a distraught Maria shaking, crying and rocking back and forth at a property in Dural.
On Friday, District Court judge Robert Sutherland jailed Callaghan for 12 years with a non-parole period of nine years, describing Maria’s disappearance as “undoubtedly a parent’s worst nightmare”.
Callaghan received a 25 per cent discount on his sentence due to pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 10 and 14, and one count of supplying a prohibited drug to a child under the age of 16.
Four other charges were taken into account when he was sentenced – two counts of intentionally sexually touching a child, an additional count of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child, and a driving charge.
Judge Sutherland said Maria was lured into Callaghan’s car by the presence of the other child, however that child was dropped off and Callaghan drove the 12-year-old to his granny flat on a Dural property. Maria was given an ice pipe and encouraged to take a puff of “the good stuff”, which she did.
A short time later, the girl was seen running down the driveway of the rural property and told a neighbour, “he’s going to get me, he just showed me his penis … I need my phone, I want my mother”.