Two days before the happiest day of her life, the victim of a prolific sexual predator stood in court and told him how he had all but robbed her of her childhood.
When Timothy Andrew Cossey's sentencing date at Hamilton District Court was set, a woman he abused for three years while she was at high school found out it would be just before her wedding day.
Police told her she did not have to be at the court to read her victim impact statement but she was adamant she needed to face her abuser before he learned his fate. "Mixed emotions," she said, was an understatement.
Judge Glen Marshall jailed 45-year-old Cossey for 13 years, half of which he must serve before being eligible for parole.
On the eve of his trial he sought a sentence indication after which he pleaded guilty to 19 charges including sexual violation, indecent assault and making an intimate visual recording.
After months of discussions with the court, the file was recently released to Fairfax NZ and it details years of grooming and sustained sexual offending against four victims.
Court documents show Cossey, an unemployed driver from Te Awamutu, spent time gaining the trust of the parents of his victims until he almost became part of the family.
In many cases he was invited on family holidays during which he brazenly offended against the children.
At times parents trusted Cossey so implicitly they allowed their children to spend time alone with him, often on hunting trips, which he used to get closer to them.
One of the female victims said: "Every time I saw you, you would sexually abuse me in some way and then you would apologise and say it would never happen again."
A boy he abused between the ages of 10 and 16 told police about the "systematic grooming" Cossey employed, while painting himself as a caring father figure.
In reality, the ongoing abuse made him feel like "a sex slave", the victim said.
The allegations against Cossey only arose when a chance meeting between the male and a female victim sparked a police complaint in 2011.
Te Awamutu police had to move quickly to apprehend the predator as he was only days from moving to Australia.
He was arrested on December 30, 2011.
The woman who made the first complaint said the fact she was pregnant was motivation for her to speak up.
"I thought ‘hang on, I'm having a child. What if he does it to my child?"' she said.
Police inquiries in the Waikato town also raised the possibility of more victims.
"We canvassed the area around where he lived . . . But nobody else was forthcoming," Detective Bill Crowe said.
Cossey made headlines when he was bailed to his parents' house in Tauranga, which was within 2km of six schools.
Though there were no more charges from his time on bail the victims described it as "an insult" that he had not been remanded in custody throughout the court process.
After listening in court to the effects of his offending from his victims' perspective, Cossey was then blasted by Judge Marshall.
"[The victims] were completely at your mercy and you knew how to manipulate them and keep them silent," he said.
"It was only until they were older and one victim had the courage to say to you, ‘stop' that it stopped as far as that victim was concerned but there is always more victims for a person of your makeup and character, Mr Cossey."
Cossey went to trial in the late 1990s for similar offending but there was a hung jury and an eventual stay of the proceedings.
Cossey never admitted any offending when interviewed by police and later blamed it on "a curse".
He will not be eligible for parole until 2020.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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