Bottles in anus, made to eat dog’s ashes: House of horrors
A disabled Logan man was bashed daily, locked up inside, burnt with cigarettes, petrol and boiling water, cut with knives and machetes, hit with a hammer and made to perform hundreds of degrading acts by his two housemates who had turned the house into a "gang" haunt, a court has heard.
When the 25-year-old victim finally presented to a hospital at the end of his nine-month ordeal, he had over 80 different external wounds and injuries, many of them infected, and he was deconditioned, malnourished and "severely anaemic".
In the words of Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso, he looked like "death warmed up".
Two Kingston men, Onshow Vaafusuaga, 23, and Rongotitiro Cecil, 26, pleaded guilty in Beenleigh District Court on Thursday to dozens of offences, including deprivation of liberty, torture, assault, possessing a shortened firearm and multiple grievous bodily harms.
Cecil, who originally moved into the Kingston home with the intellectually disabled victim and the victim's mum after meeting the victim through mutual friends, faced additional charges, including fraud, acts intended to disfigure, and robbery with personal violence.
The court heard the sadistic torture occurred over two periods from May 10, 2017 - June 24, 2017, and again from October 31, 2017 - February 18, 2018.
The first period was instigated by Cecil alone and the second with the "eager and willing participation" of Vaafusuaga, who moved into the house sometime in late June.
The court heard that after Cecil moved the mother out by fomenting conflict between her and the victim in early May 2017, his demeanour changed from friendly and conscientious to threatening.
He labelled the house his "gang headquarters", giving it the name of the "Slaughterhouse" after which his new gang, "Slaughterhouse 41" was named - he even had hats made - began calling the victim his "slave", encouraged associates to frequently attend the residence and bragged to his friends about his new servant.
The victim was subjected to daily beatings; kept under house arrest with his phone monitored; made to fetch hammers and machetes for Cecil and Vaafusuaga, which would be used to strike and slice him; and burnt on the back and buttocks with petrol and boiling water, and all over his body with cigarettes.
He would be made to tell visitors to the house he wanted to rape their girlfriends, pre-empting further beatings; he was tattooed on his face and back without consent; he was made to sit in a bathtub while he was urinated on; and he was made to perform oral sex on a decommissioned sawn-off rifle, which was used to beat him.
The victim was ordered to strip naked and sing songs such as Kenny Rodger's 'The Gambler', being beaten if he forgot any lyrics; he was made to insert bottles into his rectum; and in one episode singled out by Judge Chowdhury as being particularly "cruel", he was made to eat some of his dead dog's ashes before the rest were flushed down the toilet.
Throughout this period, some $21,000 of the victim's disability support pension payments were stolen, and the victim was forced to phone his family regularly and attend appointments to give the appearance of normalcy.
An associate of Cecil and Vaafusuaga even became the victim's legal carer in order to receive further government payments.
The court heard the victim was especially fearful due to threats made against his two young children, who did not live with him.
So fearful was he that when he was hospitalised on June 24, 2017, which marked the end of his first period of torture, he disguised the true origins of his injuries, despite Cecil fleeing to New Zealand in fear of prosecution, not to return until late July.
Shortly after, in August 2017, police attended the residence on an unrelated search warrant, but again he concealed the origins of his injuries, the court heard.
The victim was only rescued when the associate in receipt of the carer payment developed a "belated conscience" and took the victim to Beenleigh Police to make a report, upon which he was immediately transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital due to the extent of his injuries.
When police searched the Kingston property later that night, February 18, 2018, they arrested Cecil and Vaafusuaga.
The officers discovered a house which was "stained, smeared and spattered" with blood, including a variety of knives, machetes and hammers which were smeared with the victim's blood.
The court heard the victim will have permanent disfiguration to his nose and an ear, not to mention the tattoos on his face and back, the burns are likely to scar, a muscle injury to his arm requires further remedial work and he suffers a range of mental health conditions including PTSD.
Moving snippets of his victim impact statement were read onto the public record.
"My life will never be the same but neither will yours," he said.
"You will never take my joy."
Judge Chowdhury described it as "one of the worst cases of torture I've seen".
"It makes one wonder for the future of the human race," he said.
"I am astonished the victim survived."
Cecil was sentenced to 18 years' jail while Vaafusuaga received 12 years.
They have each already served about two years and nine months on remand.
Both were declared serious violent offenders, meaning they must serve 80 per cent of their sentences before they can be released.
Originally published as Bottles in anus, made to eat dog's ashes: Shocking house of horrors