21 Dec 2001 Silhouette of young woman seated in doorway, date rape victim in Adelaide. Sexual Assault crime sa sex generic
21 Dec 2001 Silhouette of young woman seated in doorway, date rape victim in Adelaide. Sexual Assault crime sa sex generic

Repeat child rapist handed life jail sentence

CHILD rapist Leonard Colin Dern will be 67 when he is eligible for parole after a Toowoomba District Court judge sentenced him to life in jail.

The 49-year-old man received the lengthy term at the Toowoomba Courthouse, as a result of recently introduced mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines introduced for repeat child sex offenders.

According to sentencing remarks published this week, Dern entered the bedroom of sleeping teenager known to him and raped her in 2019.

Dern threatened the teen when she woke up and attempted to resist the assault.

The rape was reported to police the next day and officers arrested Dern within hours.

On June 4, 2020, Dern pleaded guilty to three counts of rape with a previous conviction, one count of indecent treatment of a child under 16 and two counts of failing to comply with reporting conditions.

In sentencing, Judge Deborah Richards described Dern's offending as serious but gave him credit for an early plea that saved his victim the pain of a trial.

"The victim impact statements indicate she's had significant mental health issues arising from this incident," she said.

"That is a factor that I note; but I can't take it into account because of a mandatory sentence I have to impose."

Judge Richards noted 376 days of pre-sentence custody already served and set Dern parole eligibility date at May 25, 2039.

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