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The Crown argued this morning in the High Court at Dunedin that 47-year-old Dwayne Douglas Keats should be sentenced to preventive detention, an indefinite prison term reserved for the country’s most high-risk criminals.
But Justice Gerald Nation opted – by a narrow margin – for the finite jail sentence, with a minimum non-parole period of eight years.
Keats was jailed for eight years in 2010 for raping his former partner when she ended their relationship.
He was released on parole in 2016 – subject to GPS monitoring - and within only months began a secret relationship with his most recent victim.
Keats, the court heard, hid their meetings from his Probation officer by claiming he was visiting his children at their aunt’s house.
The victim read an emotional statement in court today detailing how the man had gained her trust before becoming the aggressive fiend who left her bleeding and unable to walk for several days at a time.
“I thought people like you were only in the movies,” she said.
“I don't like the world or trust anyone any more. It terrifies me.”
After a judge-alone trial last year, Keats was found guilty of a slew of sex offences, comprising repeated rapes over a torrid two-week period.
If she did not do what he ordered, he would become violent, the victim told the court.
“I would lie there and wish it was over for my own safety. I wanted to scream for help but he had power and control over me,” she said.
“I thought I was going to die . . . my windpipe felt like it was going to disconnect.”
Three clinicians’ reports before the court shed light on Keats’ psyche and all agreed he remained a high risk of reoffending.
The defendant showed no remorse and continued to claim he was innocent of the crimes he had been convicted.
One psychologist found Keats’ childhood experiences may have led to a negative perception of his mother and bloomed into a general hostility towards women.
The defendant’s reaction to attempts by a female forensic psychiatrist to assess him reinforced that.
He refused to be interviewed by the woman and said the job should be done by a man.
There was “little cause for optimism”, one professional said, given Keats continually raped a woman while subject to such close monitoring.
Crown prosecutor Craig Power argued there was not a glimmer of hope.
“Almost as if we're looking into the black night sky and we can't see a star,” he said.
Justice Nation, however, disagreed.
“There’s some hope that as you grow older you’ll become more able to restrain yourself . . . or you’ll be open to the sort of treatment you need to reduce the risk of further offending,” he said.
The victim said she now felt like a prisoner in her own home, constantly triggered by memories of the trauma she suffered.
She had not sat on the couch for two years and doubted she would ever have a bath again, given her associated flashbacks.
“I’ve tried to forgive and I can’t, and that hurts. It makes me feel like I’m not a true Christian,” she said.
“You’ve hurt me inside and out; my feelings, my body, my soul.”
While forever changed by the ordeal, the woman said she had to go to police to ensure Keats was unable to target other victims.
“I can’t take what you’ve done away from me but I want to stand up for other women. I believe you are a danger to this community and to all women,” she said.
When Justice Nation passed sentence, Keats, who spent the entire hearing with his jersey covering his mouth, mumbled something about an “appeal”.
“I warn you now if you offend like this again you will almost certainly be sentenced to preventive detention,” the judge said.
Keats stared at the police officer in charge of the case as he was led away and could be heard yelling from the cells.