Sunshine Coast businessman Richard Michael Espray has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the abuse and abduction of a teenage girl.
Sunshine Coast businessman Richard Michael Espray has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the abuse and abduction of a teenage girl.

'Richard Espray had a catastrophic effect on my life'

THE father of the 13-year-old girl preyed upon by a Sunshine Coast real estate agent has described the "catastrophic effect" the abuse has had on his relationship with his daughter.

Richard Michael Espray, 44, has pleaded guilty to six charges against the girl including grooming, indecent treatment and abduction.

He will be sentenced for his crimes in Maroochydore District Court next week

When the girl was aged between 12 and 13, Espray was engaged in a "relationship" with her which involved communicating via text message and came to a head with the exchange of explicit images.

The girl's father caught wind of the relationship in 2016 when he found a love letter to Espray in her room and messages between the pair on her iPad.

He spoke to his child's abuser when he suspected a relationship had developed, but Espray denied the allegation.

Police got involved in early 2017 when the father went to the police station and expressed concern about the situation.

The Daily has sighted the father's victim impact statement given to the court which describes his feelings of "depression" and "anxiety" since the offending.

His daughter was interviewed by police, but did not provide a victim impact statement.

The man wrote his "very close" relationship with his daughter had deteriorated and he felt "overwhelmed" by a situation he didn't understand.

"The negative effect on my relationship with my daughter is significant and long term.

"I am very wary and nervous of people and situations and reluctant to socialise with anyone I don't already know and trust.

"I now only feel able to trust a very few number of long-standing friends and family."

He further expressed feelings that he'd failed to protect his daughter and at times wished to "go to sleep and not wake up".

"The effects of the actions of Richard Espray have had a deep and catastrophic effect on my wellbeing and life," he said.

"...this is likely to be the case for the remainder of my life."



ROLL ON: Travel dreams alive and well for local grey nomad

Premium Content ROLL ON: Travel dreams alive and well for local grey nomad

Bundaberg retiree Gaylene Seeney has been travelling around the state and country...

FULL LIST: Bundaberg Magistrates Court appearances today

Premium Content FULL LIST: Bundaberg Magistrates Court appearances today

Here is a list of matters listed at Bundaberg Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

REGISTER NOW: Portal for pilot program launched

Premium Content REGISTER NOW: Portal for pilot program launched

How you can get involved with the Carbon+Biodiversity Pilot program.