Craig Anthony Mclean
Craig Anthony Mclean

Gympie man who had sex with 13yo in public park jailed

AFTER attempting to take his own life twice the morning of his sentencing, a Gympie man who took advantage of a 13-year-old girl and had sex with her in public has been jailed.

Craig Anthony Mclean, 30, sat in the Gympie District Court dock last week as the court heard the disturbing details of Mclean's offending against a child, who was 13 and 14 at the time.

The court heard the offending began in July 2018, and over four to five months they would "hug and kiss" but in November the girl told Mclean she was not ready to have sex.

One night in late 2018 when Mclean was 28, and the girl was 13, he drove her to a lookout near Gympie, and placed his hand down her bra.

She told him no, and he proceeded to put his hand down her shorts.

She said no again, grabbed his hand and pulled it away, before running away.

Months later, after attending a party and smoking marijuana, the girl agreed to meet Mclean after he called her at home.

He took her to a park in Gympie, where they had sex on a park table before he dropped her home.

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Mclean and the girl also exchanged sexually explicit photos and Mr Long said one image was saved by Mclean in 2019.

The court heard Mclean later convinced the girl to see him again, and took her to a lookout, saying nothing would happen between them

While sitting on a bench, the girl said Mclean started being "touchy-feely" and moving closer to her, despite her pulling away.

He fought her, opened her pants and began touching her, and when she told him to stop or she would call the police, he threatened her.

"If you call the police I will take your life," Mclean told her.

The court heard the girl was crying, scared and unable to get out of his grip, and Mclean only removed his hand, hurting her,after she stomped on his foot.

He dropped the girl home, and the next day she reported everything to the police.

Mclean voluntarily attended the Gympie Police Station in November 2019, and tried to "explain away" his possession of photos and the offences, not co-operating with police.

He was charged with two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, one count of having carnal knowledge with a child under 16, and one count of possessing child exploitation material.

He was then released on bail, with a condition that he was not allowed to use social media.

"Yet that's what you did persistently from there after," Mr Long told Mclean.

The court heard between 2019 and 2020 Mclean continued to use social media, and was charged with breaching the bail condition several times, and was arrested in January after he sent messages threatening to kill anyone who reported him to the police or "allowed information to get out."

Mclean spent 205 days in pre-sentence custody until being released on bail in August, with sentencing scheduled for early September.

The court heard that early the morning of his sentencing, Mclean was found in an Ipswich park having tried take his own life, and was rushed to hospital.

Later that day, back in Gympie, Mclean said he tried to take his own life a second time, and said the attempts were "unrelated" to his court matters.

Mclean's lawyer said his client had a history of mental health problems, and Mclean had been "reflecting on his childhood" that morning.

He also said Mclean, who grew up in Gympie, finished high school in year 8, and had previously worked in the forestry industry.

Mr Long said Mclean's early attempts to deflect blame and not co-operate with police, then his early guilty plea, and then the suicidal behaviour showed he was acting out of "substantial self-interest" rather than out of remorse for the victim.

Mr Long said Mclean's "unacceptable actions with the child" preyed on her young age.

"[The sexual intercourse] involved consent on her part, but it is evident you were taking advantage of her vulnerability."

Mr Long gave Mclean a head sentence of two years and three months, to be suspended for nine months after he serves nine months.

Mr Long declared his pre-sentence custody as time-served, and Mclean was taken back into custody to finish the remainder of his term.

For breaching a previous suspended sentence with these offences, he was sentenced to six months, to be served concurrently.

He was also placed on probation for 18 months, starting immediately, and on a using a carriage service to harass charge, he was placed on a $1000 good behaviour bond for 15 months.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

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