First impression of man accused of raping daughter 'normal'

[EDITORS NOTE: The trial of Queensland yachtsman John Collins in the Brisbane District Court this week was declared a mistrial late on Tuesday afternoon due to a legal technicality.
The story that appeared in Wednesday's print edition on the February 4 was filed before that occurred.
A new date for the trial has not been set.]

 

A MOTHER has described how she took her daughter to a job interview aboard a yacht during the 1980s and thought the man who is accused of later raping her child seemed normal.

Yachtsman John Collins, 76, went on trial in the Brisbane District Court this week charged with three counts of rape and one of sexual assault stemming from his subsequent interactions with the woman's daughter aboard the yacht.

The woman, who cannot be identified in order to protect her daughter's identity, said her daughter had seen a job ad placed in the Sunshine Coast Daily in 1986 and decided to apply for it.

She told the court on Tuesday the job ad wanted a young woman to travel on a yacht from the Sunshine Coast to the Whitsundays to be a companion and teacher to a young boy who was learning via distance education.

"There were three other people present aboard the yacht when we showed up for the interview, including the little boy ... everything seemed normal," she said.

"I was shown around the yacht by Collins and he also pointed out where my daughter would be sleeping."

The mother told the court her daughter was offered the position and started work the following day.

She told the court she only had contact with her daughter on three occasions following that.

"I spoke to her before they set sail from the Sunshine Coast, again when they pulled into port at Bundaberg and then when she fled the yacht in the Whitsundays," she said.

"She told me what occurred so I immediately organised a bus ticket for her and said we would be waiting when it arrived in Nambour."

Defence barrister Callan Cassidy suggested the woman had given a slightly different version to what she gave in her initial police statement more than a decade ago.

He suggested to the woman that the initial interview with Collins and her daughter took place at their then home at Eudlo.

"No, never ... Collins has never been to our house," she said.

The trial before Judge Terence Martin continues.

- APN NEWSDESK.


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