ACT News

Victim of spurned eHarmony lover still 'gripped by fear' after attack

The victim of a spurned, gun-wielding eHarmony lover is still "crippled" by fear and was robbed of her young life "in an instant", a court has heard. 

Drew Francis Thompson, 28, is currently being sentenced for the attack against the woman in late 2013, after she ended their short but intense relationship which began on the online dating site.

Thompson had naively tried to win her back, until being humiliated publicly by the woman outside the Dickson shops. 

The Crown say that's when he decided to take "lover's revenge". Thompson, they say, wanted to show her how much it hurt to have your trust broken.

He put on a pair of gloves, took a gun, and hid in her apartment, waiting for her to come home. 

When she arrived, he put his gloved hand over her mouth, and threw her onto a bed with the gun at her chest. 

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Thompson then kept her in the apartment for three hours, until eventually leaving. 

There was no evidence the gun was loaded, but the victim feared she would be shot. 

A jury found Thompson guilty of the crimes after an ACT Supreme Court trial last year.

He said he had gone to the apartment to reconcile and as a cry for help, feeling depressed and suicidal, and denied having a gun or gloves.

The victim wrote of the impact his actions had on her life in a statement read out at the start of Thompson's sentencing proceedings on Thursday.

"I have wished that he would have killed me during the attack, because the fear of him finding me is crippling," she wrote.

She said she still woke up feeling as though a gloved hand was choking her, and said she had lost trust in men, suffered stress, hyper-vigilance, sleeplessness, anxiety, and a loss of her once strong independence.

"My life as a 22-year-old was robbed from me in one instant," she said.

But the court also heard that Thompson now had "significant blue sky" in his future life. His barrister Jack Pappas said his client was studying at university, had a new girlfriend, supportive family and friends, and improving mental health.

The fact that he had no criminal history, no history of violence, and, according to his psychologist, little chance of reoffending will also be a factor in his sentencing. 

Mr Pappas urged the court to impose a sentence that would allow Thompson to make a productive and fruitful contribution to society, and spoke of the court's role in allowing reform and rehabilitation. 

He also relied on evidence that Thompson was suffering depression and mental health problems at the time of the offence.

"This was the conduct of a disturbed person in disturbed circumstances," he said.

Thompson still denies the allegations against him, but Mr Pappas said his client does acknowledge the victim experienced anguish, even on his version of events.

"He does accept he's caused the victim great pain, he feels sorrow for having done so."

But Crown prosecutor Sara Gul said the objective seriousness of the offence outweighed all of Thompson's subjective circumstances. 

The attack, she said, was premeditated, "terrifying" for the victim, and so serious that nothing other than a period of full time imprisonment was appropriate.

Ms Gul said the fact that Thompson was remorseful for going to the victim's house was completely irrelevant, given he still denied the crimes he was found guilty of.

"There is no halfway house for remorse," she said.

She questioned whether his mental health problems reduced his moral culpability for the crimes, and submitted that he could be adequately cared for in prison.

Acting Justice David Robinson reserved his decision on sentence, revoking Thompson's bail in the meantime.

The offender will remain in custody until the sentence is handed down on a date to be fixed.