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Woman traumatised by 'monster'

Woman traumatised by 'monster'
Ashburton man, Glenn John Milne, was given a nine-and-a-half month home detention sentence and ordered to pay $5000 in reparation on two charges of indecent assault on a Canterbury woman. He was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court yesterday. PHOTO SHARON DAVIS

A Canterbury woman has been left with deep emotional scars and had her life turned on its head after she was indecently assaulted in her own home. Sharon Davis talks to Janice* about her traumatic experience and journey to justice.

*not her real name

The charming man she chatted to online was nothing like the monster who appeared at her door a few days later, almost destroying her life.

Janice* met Ross on online dating website NZ Dating. They started chatting, found they had a lot in common and made a connection.

“I really didn’t see any red flags… your red-flag-o’meter gets pretty good on dating sites,” Janice said.

Ross claimed to be single and live in Lincoln.

The pair met up once early in August 2022 and got on “just fine”.

About a week later, Ross called and arranged to visit Janice at her home in Timaru at short notice.

But Ross wasn’t who he appeared to be.

His real name was Glenn John Milne. He was married, lived in Ashburton - and his life had just imploded as what his lawyer, Paul Norcross, described as “extracurricular activity up north” caught up with him.

A North Island girlfriend, bitter over a recent breakup, had called Milne’s work to complain and alerted his wife.

Milne turned up at Janice's front door in Timaru, visibly upset on August 12, 2022. When she gave him a consolatory hug, he tried to grope her.

He was a different person, Janice said. He was aggressive and manipulative.

Milne, in the guise of Ross, told Janice he couldn’t go home and wanted to move in and start a new life with her. He tried several times to grope Janice and rip off her top, despite being told intimacy and sex were not an option.

“He turned up to get a fix – not to see me – and tried to rip off my clothes. There was a total lack of respect."

The indecent assault continued for just under an hour.

“The charmer I’d met the week before was nothing like the monster that turned up.”

While Milne was trying to get his way, he was also playing the victim and trying to entice Janice to rescue him and lay on guilt for not meeting his needs.

“I was scared for my life. I knew I stood no chance against him physically.

"It was the most disempowering, confusing, scary and discombobulating experience I have ever had."

After using every trick she could think of to deflect or distract Milne and talk him down, Janice eventually got him to leave.

“I was in full survival mode for 50 minutes.

“As I locked the door behind him, I just doubled over and almost threw up. I was in shock for days.”

Janice fled to a nearby campground that night in case Milne returned and reported the incident to the police the next morning.

She lived in cabins, hotels and Air B&B accommodation while she moved to a new city with no support network.

"I was too scared to live in my house again. I didn't sleep for days."

Since the assault, Janice has been through 16 months of hell.

She’s had trauma therapy and counselling as she battled to rebuild her life in a new town, and still suffers from significant post-traumatic stress.

Janice said the attack had damaged her trust and affected her friends and family.

“My kids don’t have quite the same Mum,” she said.

For Janice, the journey to justice had been exhausting and re-traumatising.

"After living in survival mode for six months all my fight went out. I had a breakdown and ended up suicidal.

"I had to take weeks off work. I lost friendships, job opportunities, and strained family relationships."

Janice’s attacker was eventually charged with two instances of indecent assault.

Milne denied the charges when he appeared in the Ashburton District Court in April last year. He changed his plea to guilty after Judge Tom Gilbert gave a sentence indication in October 2023.

Janice said the process of advocating for justice and building a wall of protection every time Milne went to court had been exhausting and horrific.

“You go through the justice process to get your power back but so much happens without you.”

Milne, now 50, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half months' home detention in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday.

In her victim impact statement, read in court through tears, Janice said Milne had come close to destroying her life, had forever altered her path, and caused damage that she would carry with her for the rest of her life.

'I'm a victim of yours forever... I did not deserve what you did to me.

"Your sexual assault was not impulsive. You messaged me and drove from Ashburton with the intent to have sex with me regardless of my consent.

"While I strongly want to see you get a consequence that you can't hide behind, I do not wish to destroy you like you did to me. Remember you did that to yourself. I really hope you begin to take full responsibility for this crime.

Judge Gilbert said the starting point for sentencing was two years in prison with a 20% discount for Milne's guilty plea.

"I accept that what you did was completely out of character and that you are not a bad man - although you did bad things. I accept you regret your actions for the predicament it has placed you in, but also for the harm it caused."

The judge arrived at a nine-and-a-half month home detention sentence.

Judge Gibson said Milne was a valued employee and was not at risk of reoffending.

The judge also ordered Milne to pay $5000 in reparation to be paid in a lump sum within a week.

By Sharon Davis