Family brands dominatrix a 'predator'

TONY WALL
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2014

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A judge has intervened to stop an octogenarian who gifted more than $120,000 to his former dominatrix from giving her any more money.

The man's family went to court in a desperate bid to stop the flow of money to the woman, who they said was a "predator on elderly, lonely men".

Judge David Brown said he was satisfied the evidence showed that the woman, who is in her 50s, exerted "undue influence" over the man, which was likely to continue.

Judge Brown found that under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act the man "partly lacks the competence to manage his own affairs in relation to his property" and ordered that a property manager be appointed to supervise earnings from his portfolio, estimated to be worth as much as $20m.

The names of the parties cannot be published because the man is considered a vulnerable person.

The judgment said it was clear that more than $120,000 had flowed from the man to the woman from his "very valuable real estate empire" built up over a lifetime.

The application was made by the man's wife of many decades, who now lives in a rest home. She gave evidence that her husband introduced the woman to her about six years ago, saying she was looking to rent one of their properties to run as a brothel.

"I was not comfortable, but it seemed to fascinate [my husband]," she told the court. "She came to our home a number of times and I was always polite and offered her a cup of tea and a sandwich. She was very familiar and I did not like this - [my husband] was very keen to do things for her."

The wife said her husband told her the woman was "on the street" and "needed a handout" but it was obvious he had "lost any independent thinking in regard to [the woman] and is in a fully submissive relationship with her".

According to the judgement, the man's behaviour became odd, and he started complaining to his daughter about his sexual relationship with his wife.

"He sat down and told me he was into bondage and discipline . . . he described his sessions with [the dominatrix] to me, being tied up and whipped," the daughter said in evidence.

Until then, the daughter had thought her father had a "typical Catholic attitude towards sex and was quite prudish", the judgment said.

The family started making inquiries into the woman and found that she had preyed financially on two elderly men in the town where she lived.

A "psycho-geriatrician" gave evidence that the man may have "impairment in frontal lobe function, exemplified by change in behaviour, mood, impulse control, insight and judgment".

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But the man's GP of 30 years told the court he was of sound mind and "fully capable" of managing his own affairs.

A psycho-geriatrician called by lawyers for the man said he had only mild impairment and was capable of managing his own property, but was "undoubtedly vulnerable to undue influence".

There was potential for him to be exploited by the dominatrix for her own gain.

Judge Brown noted that the man had suddenly, in court, given a whole new explanation for how he met the woman - that he answered an advertisement for a dominatrix out of curiosity, went for a B&D session and the woman "happened to be on duty". He had claimed to have met her later while she was working as a social worker and she became a friend and supporter.

"That a man of age could become involved in totally unexpected sexual behaviour without being in any way impaired is beyond question," the judge said. "It is however entirely different if it takes place accompanied by . . . changes of attitude and behaviour indicative of a generalised loss of judgment."

The fact that the man discussed with his children his sexual interplays with the dominatrix, his "childish" behaviour in court, the medical evidence and evidence from his family had established on the balance of probabilities that he lacked competence to manage his own affairs.

- Sunday Star Times

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