Rockhampton Christian preacher jailed for raping wife

A FUNDAMENTALIST Christian preacher has been sentenced to prison after he "twisted” the Bible to justify raping his wife of almost 40 years.

The couple prescribed to a radical Christian sect which believes, in the words of crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence, "if someone tells you God wanted you to do something, you do it”.

The 64-year-old man, who can't be named to protect the identity of his former wife, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court today to two counts of rape.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Ms Lawrence told the court between January and April, 2011, the defendant raped his wife in their North Rockhampton home twice by grabbing her arms and forcing her onto their bed.

If his wife refused sex, which he sometimes requested up to seven times a day, he would berate her, make threats of violence and say "God says you don't have the right to deny me, your body belongs to me”.

Their relationship was one "characterised by domestic violence”, spanning decades.

The complainant read a victim impact statement to the court with one of her sons standing by her side.

During her statement, which detailed the physical, psychological and social impacts of the abuse, she only referred to her former husband as the accused.

Ms Lawrence read impact statements from two sons of the couple who spoke about their ongoing drug use and mental health issues from their upbringing and the offending.

When the defendant was first interviewed by police in 2013, he said he had no recollection of abusing his wife and "certainly hoped he didn't”.

Defence barrister Frank Lippett told the court, his client was raised in a strict "deeply religious” household with "views not shared by the majority of the Christian faith” and therefore had a "skewed view”.

But over the last few months had become "conscious of the impact of his behaviour” on the complainant and their children.

A psychological report tendered as evidence stated the defendant had no psychological conditions or underlying deviant tendencies.

In his closing remarks, Judge Michael Burnett described "fundamentalism of any kind” as dangerous and "poisonous at its heart”.

Judge Burnett sentenced the man, who he said had an "evil presence” within him, to five years imprisonment for each count - to be served concurrently.

The sentence is to be suspended after 20 months with an operational period of five years.

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