No jail for man who touched sleeping backpacker's genitals

A 44-YEAR-OLD man who touched a female backpacker while she slept has escaped spending time behind bars after he was handed a 12-month wholly suspended sentence in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court.

Darren Gregory Herron pleaded guilty to five charges yesterday; two counts of entering a dwelling and commit an indictable offence, two counts of entering a dwelling with intent and one count of sexual assault.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told the court that, shortly before 11.30pm on October 26 this year, Herron walked from his white BMW, which was parked out the front of the North Bundaberg Backpackers in Queen St, and into the hostel.

He told the court that Herron walked through the premises, which consists of a number of rooms and communal facilities, before entering an unlocked room.

Sgt Stevens said Herron walked in and out of the same room three times within a number of minutes.

On the first occasion he took a bag and wallet belonging to one backpacker, the second time he took a bag belonging to another backpacker.

Sgt Stevens said it was on the third occasion that he touched the woman, who was asleep in the room

The court heard the complainant woke to find the defendant touching her genital area, with his hand inside her shorts but outside her underwear.

When the victim screamed Herron fled the scene.

Defence barrister Nick Larter said his client was "heavily intoxicated" and had no memory of the incident.

He said Herron was suffering depression after the break up of his long-term marriage.

Magistrate Aaron Simpson asked Mr Larter if Herron had provided any explanation for the offending but Mr Larter said he had not as he had no recollection of the incident.

In sentencing Mr Simpson said it was important to send a message to Herron and the community that this type of conduct would not be tolerated and said the victim would have been terrified.

In handing down the sentence he took into account Herron's timely plea and the fact that he had no history of similar offences.

Topics:  backpackers bundaberg bundaberg magistrates court editors picks

Dreamworld deaths 'followed' funeral directors on holiday

Thunder River Rapids ride was next on their list to do

11 flood mitigation options for Bundaberg

FLOOD PLANS: Locals look at the options available at the North Bundaberg Progress Hall.

Residents can now have their say

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Woolies announces closure of Ipswich store

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June