CCTV of offender before attack on woman
Security footage shows man heading to his apartment and then reappearing in disguise and moving a camera before the offence.PT0M0S 620 349
The building manager of a luxurious Docklands complex who "craved" intimate sexual contact attacked a young female resident while alone in her apartment bedroom in what a judge has described as an "horrific ordeal".
Ross Gregory Cartwright had "really bad sexual thoughts" when he selected the 22-year-old student, before opening her door with his master key for the NewQuay Promenade apartment while holding a pink necktie, a strip of fabric and a blindfold.
Melbourne's County Court heard that Cartwright – disguised under a hooded jumper, baseball cap and sunglasses – wore white gloves and carried condoms, lubricant, drugs to sedate her and a Viagra-like medicine.
Ross Cartwright ... tried to muffle screams.
Patrick O'Halloran, prosecuting, said the woman, seated at a desk studying for exams, screamed when Cartwright appeared behind her about 8.30am on August 18 last year, then tried to "muffle her scream by placing his hand over her mouth".
Mr O'Halloran said she continued to scream and struggle with Cartwright, who then ran towards the front door as she struck him to his head with a pot, breaking its handle.
When Cartwright, 35, turned to face her he put his left hand over her mouth, but she bit the middle finger which bled and left a small drop of blood inside the door as he left.
Caught on CCTV.
Senior Detectives Travis Henson and Blake Amos from Melbourne CIU arrested Cartwright the next day after they asked him to remove his left hand from his pocket while viewing closed circuit television footage. There was a bite mark on Cartwright's hand.
Judge Claire Quin was told in March, when Cartwright pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary with intent to rape, that he had "given in" to his sexual fantasies while drunk and on cocaine.
Defence solicitor Emma Turnbull said Cartwright, then grieving over his grandfather's "impending death", surrendered to the fantasies "which ultimately led to this offending".
The NewQuay Promenade building. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
Ms Turnbull said while previously he had had fantasies about such conduct, "on this occasion he acted upon them in a stressful situation".
Cartwright, without prior convictions, wrote in a letter tendered to Judge Quin that he "can't believe I put anyone through that" and also spoke of the "terrible wrong that I have done".
Ms Turnbull conceded the features of the offending by her client, whose "extraordinary admissions" to police went beyond the scope of their investigation, included a breach of trust, elements of premeditation and the serious psychological injuries sustained by the victim.
In sentencing on Thursday, Judge Quin referred to the victim's impact statement that reported her undergoing heart palpitations and feeling scared, experiencing nightmares and never being relaxed or sleeping properly.
Judge Quin said the woman had been "brave" in resisting Cartwright during the "horrific ordeal" in which he wore a "somewhat chilling disguise".
She jailed him for six and half years with a minimum of four years, less 276 days served in pre-sentence detention.
Mr O'Halloran said Cartwright's job allowed him access to every apartment and floor via a master key. Cartwright oversaw the CCTV system and was provided accommodation in an apartment on the 16th floor.
Mr O'Halloran said at 7.41am on the day of the offence, Cartwright left his office, caught the lift to his apartment where he stayed for 10 minutes until he entered a secure stairwell carrying a backpack with additional clothing.
In the stairwell, he changed into tracksuit pants and hooded jumper and put on a baseball cap and sunglasses.
On the victim's floor, Cartwright repositioned the CCTV camera so it faced the wall and then entered her apartment, leaving the pack inside the door.
Mr O'Halloran said: "Upon entering [he] approached the victim who was seated with her back to the door at a desk in her bedroom.
"On hearing a noise (she) turned around and saw the offender standing immediately behind her holding a neck tie, a strip of white fabric and a blindfold."
After she screamed and they struggled, Cartwright was struck and bitten before he picked up the backpack and left the apartment, leaving behind items that included his baseball cap, necktie, the strip of fabric and a sports brace.
She watched him walk down the hallway and enter the stairwell, Mr O'Halloran said. He stayed in his apartment all that day and did not answer the calls of police who attended.
After his arrest, Cartwright made "full and comprehensive" admissions, which included that before the offending he had "really bad sexual thoughts".
Mr O'Halloran said these included a "level of desperation for sexual conduct".
He said Cartwright admitted he had picked the woman's apartment "as he knew there was a young girl living there alone" and had checked the CCTV footage that morning to confirm she was alone.
He told police in an interview he had drunk alcohol and taken cocaine and on returning home earlier that morning decided to unlawfully enter someone's apartment as he needed sexual contact or "maybe rape" someone with force if he had to.
When Cartwright pleaded guilty in March, his mother and sister were present in support as Ms Turnbull described a man with unresolved issues of grief after loss of his father at 15 and the deaths of two siblings.
Ms Turnbull submitted that while the offending was premeditated, it was only for a period of about an hour, the assault was not prolonged and there were no physical injuries.
He was a single and educated man, she said, who had held the job for about two years, and produced character references that included some from residents of the complex aware of the crime who described him as otherwise a "very impressive character".
Judge Quin expressed concern about a psychologist's report, which indicated that Cartwright was a low risk of future sexually deviant offending, because it did not "address some of the disturbing aspects of the offending".
She felt it did not provide a proper basis for understanding "why this very, very, very serious offending took place".
Judge Quin then ordered a report from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare) which, when produced earlier this month, suggested Cartwright's future risk of reoffending was "moderate".
Ms Turnbull noted that psychologist reported that Cartwright "craves intimate contact" and sexual satisfaction, but also that he has insight, had demonstrated remorse and was prepared to engage in appropriate treatment.
It found also that he did not pose a risk to the sexual safety of the community.
In his sentencing submissions, Mr O'Halloran described the offending as at the "higher end" for the offence and was an "exploitation of the security measures designed to protect the occupants from the harm he committed".
Mr O'Halloran said the offence involved an inherent breach of trust and was planned, acted on "deliberately and methodically" and was "clearly predatory in nature".
He told Judge Quin that both medical experts agreed Cartwright had no indications of psychosis or intellectual impairment, but he had admitted he had then been watching "increasingly deviant sexual material" on the internet.
Cartwright had also maintained a deviant sexual interest when intoxicated and had watched pornographic movies on the theme.
Ms Turnbull noted the Forensicare report said that he denied a "fixation" on "rough sex" and had an interest in watching all types of pornography.
In sentencing, Judge Quin said some of the detail of the offence came from the CCTV footage, but that much of the information was provided by Cartwright in his admissions.
She noted that the prosecution had agreed that it would have been difficult for the charge of intent to be sustained without the admissions.
Judge Quin noted Cartwright's expressions of "honest shame and embarrassment" and his insight which supported his prospects of rehabilitation.
Both doctors who examined Cartwright, she said, linked his deviant sexual thoughts to substance abuse.
Deterrence and protection of the community were significant in sentencing him, Judge Quin said, with Cartwright's guilty plea and admissions the principal factors in his favour.
While one expert diagnosed Cartwright having a major depressive disorder, the doctor who more recently saw him regarded it as mild, she noted.