The two Taranaki women treated as sex slaves by a depraved and sadistic Allan Rosewarne over 20 years say they are now finally free of him.
"It's over, we're free," said one woman who spent 17 years under his control.
"We did it. It's been so long I can't believe it."
Their reaction came after Rosewarne, 48, yesterday pleaded guilty on the third day of his trial in the High Court in New Plymouth to serious physical and sexual assaults on his respective female partners from 1990 to 2008, cruelty to their children and administering drugs to his second partner.
The two women, now friends through their shared ordeal, hugged each other and sobbed after being told he was about to plead guilty to 18 of the 44 counts - most of them representative of similar offending.
The two women came into court holding hands, sitting together along with their supporters to hear his guilty pleas.
There was no-one in court to support Rosewarne apart from his lawyers, headed by Roger Crowley. Crown prosecutor Cherie Clarke said it was the worst case of domestic violence she had dealt with in her 23-year career.
Others involved in the case agreed. New Plymouth court victim adviser Michelle Coe said what the two women had been through was horrendous.
The women, who as victims of sexual abuse cannot be identified, say they intend to write a book as a warning to others.
Rosewarne used fear and control to cut them off from all their support, never allowing them to talk to those who could be expected to help them, they said.
They believe there are many others in the community going through the same ordeal.
The older woman gave graphic evidence in court on Tuesday afternoon of the violence and depravity she was subjected to.
She told the Taranaki Daily News how she felt that, in finally getting to tell her story to the jurors, that people were finally listening and believing her.
"For 17 years no-one came to help. I lost hope. It took me seven years to get the balls to talk about it. I did this for my babies. I felt guilty that I didn't charge him earlier. He's evil. He's got no soul," she said.
It has taken two years for the case to come before court.
The younger woman described the time she was with Rosewarne as worse than being in a jail because there appeared to be no escape. The two women had become very close.
"There's no-one else in the world that understands what we have been through. He treated us exactly the same."
She praised the support they received from the two female detectives in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Robyn Burnett and Detective Constable Kelly Povey.
Coe said credit for the result needed to go to the women themselves "for having the courage to come to court and facing their fears of not only what happened to them but having to confront their trauma all over again in the court process". Writing a book about their experience would both empower them and would encourage others in similar situations to come forward, Coe said.
In court earlier, Justice Thomas released the jurors who had waited during the day of behind-the-scenes negotiations.
After Rosewarne's guilty pleas, the judge remanded him in custody until sentencing on October 15.
The Crown said it would call for a sentence of preventive detention - this country's most punitive sentence. As a result, the judge ordered two reports from a psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist, in addition to a pre-sentence report and victim impact statements.
Clarke told the judge the victims wished to read their statements to the court prior to sentencing.
The judge thanked the lawyers, saying she was grateful for the way they dealt with the case.
The outcome spared the victims any further ordeal, she said.
- Taranaki Daily News