Athlete’s torture townhouse smelled of ‘death’
Paramedics who arrived at the home of former pro-soccer player Jeromy Lee Harris to rescue a woman his housemate had brutally tortured for 23 days told police the house smelled of "death".
The sentence hearing for Harris over his role in the sadistic attack on the woman who was held hostage for more than three weeks and tortured to the brink of death began in the Brisbane District Court today.
His ex-housemate Nicholas John Crilley, 34, was given a life sentence in May for raping and torturing the woman by burning her with acetone, setting her on fire and badly beating her over three weeks in 2017.
Harris has admitted that he supplied Crilley with Xanax and was an "accessory" to his flatmate's brutality.
Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory after the fact to grievous bodily harm and three counts of supplying dangerous drugs.
Defence barrister Tony Glynn QC today argued his client was unaware of the extent of what had happened to the woman and rejected submissions he asked Crilley to remove the victim from the home to avoid her being seen during an inspection by his real estate agent.
Crown Prosecutor Sandra Cupina told the court while there was no suggestion Harris was involved in torturing the woman, he must have known about it.
"My submission is he saw her and knew how catastrophic the injuries were," Ms Cupina said.
She said Harris had called a vet nurse about the woman's injuries and had sent them a photo of the victim which showed a "gaping wound severely infected with burn marks around it".
"What is of significance he said via text message that, 'it has a bad odour when brown stuff comes out', and implicit in that is that he is there proximate to the injury and proximate to the complainant and this is the day before she's taken to hospital," Ms Cupina said.
She said later that night Harris had also messaged a friend saying: "Mr friend was bashed and tortured and has burns to 70 per cent of his body and I don't know how many stitches. The picture of his face is now tattooed on my brain and my townhouse smells like rotting flesh. No s--t it's perhaps one of the worst things I've witnessed in my life."
Ms Cupina said paramedics who arrived to help the woman after an anonymous call from Crilley said Harris' home smelled of "death" when they arrived.
She said the smell in the home and the "vocalisations she must have been making" were other factors that went to suggesting Harris knew how catastrophic the woman's injuries were.
"The strong smell of decaying flesh was noticeable upon entering the unit and there were flies at the front door," Ms Cupina said of the report from paramedics.
The sentence was adjourned until late next week to allow Judge Leanne Clare time to make a decision over the contested facts surrounding when Harris became aware of the woman's injuries.
Harris, who has been on bail for three years, was allowed to continue on his current bail until the sentence next week.*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Athlete's torture townhouse smelled of 'death'