The tension was palpable and tears were shed in the public gallery of the Invercargill District Court yesterday when the impact of a Southland man's sexual offending against two girls was revealed.
Keith Wicks-Cairns, 24, was sentenced to four years and 10 months' jail for trying to have unlawful sexual connection with a 10-year-old girl on March 5 and sexually violating and doing an indecent act on a girl, 4, on March 24.
About 25 people were in the public gallery for the sentencing, with tears shed when a victim impact report written by the mother of one of the girls was read out by Crown lawyer Sarah McKenzie.
It told how the offending had devastated the victim, who was old enough to remember it.
"She won't forget this, not ever. It will be with us for the rest of our lives. It makes me sick to the stomach," she said.
"She wakes up screaming at night. She suffers at school because she isn't sleeping. She stares vacantly. My kind-hearted little girl has become a shadow of herself.
"I have intense rage ... because of something so wrong and disgusting on so many levels that you did to her."
She said she wanted other people warned about Wicks-Cairns so they did not have to face the same ordeal.
Wicks-Cairns sat in the dock with his head bowed to his knees while the victim impact report was read.
Wicks-Cairns had himself been abused as a child, the court heard.
Judge Kevin Phillips said he had seen Wicks-Cairns appear in courts over the years and his offending had always involved alcohol and a rejection of community standards.
His offending on the girls had taken a huge emotional toll on the families. The father of one girl was devastated and found it hard to express his anger, the judge said.
"I don't accept you feel any remorse except for yourself," the judge told Wicks-Cairns.
- The Southland Times