A former professional soccer player who “harboured” a grievously injured woman and the man who tortured her in a Brisbane unit has been sentenced to three years’ jail.
WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers may find upsetting.
- The woman was raped, tortured and beaten for 23 days in Jeromy Lee Harris’s Brisbane unit
- Judge Leanne Clare says Harris could smell the woman’s rotting flesh and failed to seek medical help
- Harris will be eligible for parole after serving eight months in prison
Jeromy Lee Harris, 45, pleaded guilty in the District Court in Brisbane to being an accessory after the fact to grievous bodily harm and supplying dangerous drugs.
In May, his ex-housemate Nicholas Crilley was sentenced to life in prison for raping, torturing and beating a woman over a 23-day period at Bulimba and Spring Hill in 2017.
Harris was not accused of inflicting injury on the woman but was sentenced for helping Crilley escape detection by authorities.
The court heard Harris ensured Crilley and the woman were not at home during a scheduled real estate inspection, and let them return to the unit afterwards for several days.
“With the provision of safe accommodation, Crilley managed to hide [the victim],” Judge Leanne Clare said during sentencing on Thursday.
“In that way, the prisoner’s [Harris’] actions not only helped Crilley avoid police but enabled him to keep [the victim] from the expert medical care that she needed until such time as Crilley summonsed the paramedics.”
‘Her life was in the balance’
Judge Clare said by July 1, 2017, Harris knew the victim had an injury that “at least put her at risk of permanent damage or disfigurement” and had “smelt her rotting flesh”.
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“It was so bad that you had to leave the house, so you knew that evening that her condition was dire,” she said.
Judge Clare accepted Harris was “anxious and upset” about the victim’s condition and tried to find “underground” medical options for her, including help from a vet nurse and a “de-registered” doctor, but acknowledged that he never rang triple-0.
“You put yourself and the perpetrator above the urgent need of a grievously injured woman even when her life was in the balance,” Judge Clare said.
“It was cowardly and weak.
“There are references which speak of your kindness, sensitivity and respect.
“And yet you were the same person who harboured a violent offender and allowed him to conceal the crime, allowed him to keep the grievously injured victim from essential treatment.
“You did that out of cowardice rather than malice, but you did it nonetheless.
“You must live with the knowledge that you did not rescue this girl.”
‘Self-serving and careless of life’
In a statement read to the court, the complainant said there were many times Harris could have done something to help her, including “making an anonymous tip to emergency services”.
“The selfish mindset of your own interest and drug use came before my life,” the victim said.
“When I was removed from the townhouse due to a real estate inspection and the place was left empty, I feel as if that was a prime time to alert someone about what Crilley was doing.
“But nothing was more important than helping out your friend that would have pushed you under the bus anyway.”
The woman described Harris and Crilley as “self-serving and careless of life”.
“A lot of what has happened to me and how I have suffered was preventable regardless of others’ view on it,” she told the court.
“It wasn’t a secret what was going on and it makes me terrified that there are other people out there that could be as bad as you.”
Harris was sentenced to three years’ jail and will be eligible for parole in July 2021.
He was also sentenced to six months’ jail to be served concurrently for supplying dangerous drugs.