By Lucy Cormack
Two Australian men have been sentenced to more than three years in a Finnish prison for the aggravated rape of a woman they brought to their hotel room under false pretences.
Craig John Patman, 40, and Justin Taylor, 43, are behind bars at Helsinki’s Vantaa prison after a court heard they worked together in subjecting the woman to violence and threats, and forcing her to have sex.
The men will spend their sentences in Vantaa Prison, north of Helsinki, Finland.Credit: RISE
A lengthy district court judgment, obtained by this masthead, found the men had used violence to “break the will” of the victim, forcing her to undress and leaving her “paralysed” in fear over the course of an hour.
“The person concerned has also been humiliated during the act. The act as a whole has seriously violated [their] sexual autonomy,” an English translation of the judgment by Finnish Judge Salli Lindstedt said.
Patman, Taylor and the woman met for the first time in the centre of Helsinki at about midnight on August 6, when they discussed moving on to a karaoke pub or bar.
The three were captured on CCTV about 1.50am entering the hotel where the Australian men were staying. The woman went to the hotel room believing they were stopping briefly, so one of the men could change their shoes and she could use the bathroom, the court heard.
However, after entering the bathroom the woman was approached by one of the men who tried to remove her shirt. Despite protesting she was stripped of her clothing and forced into multiple unprotected sexual acts by the men, separately and at the same time.
“The claimant has verbally forbidden Patman from undressing her and tried to prevent the removal of her clothes, but Patman has forced the claimant to undress,” the judgment said, adding that the woman said she did not try to escape for fear of “something even worse” occurring.
“During the act, the defendants have pulled the person concerned by the hair,” the judgment said.
It also described the men holding the woman by her wrists and calling her derogatory names. At no stage was consent given: “It is sufficient that the degree of violence used is such that it is enough to break the will of the other person.”
The woman, whose identity is protected, left the hotel room shortly before 3am and approached a staff member, who was named as a witness in the trial, telling them she had been raped.
The men met the woman in the centre of Helsinki.Credit: istock
Appearing distressed, she handed her phone to the staffer who spoke to the victim’s boyfriend and asked him to come to the hotel. The incident was reported at 3.12am, before police arrived and arrested the men who were asleep in the hotel room.
Patman denied working with Taylor and using violence, and said all sexual acts were consensual. Taylor said all sexual intercourse was voluntary, and that the woman gave consent with words, gestures and behaviour.
The district court rejected the claims and instead found the woman’s statement, and “sufficiently strong evidence” including a medical report, to be reliable.
Patman and Taylor were sentenced to three years and eight months, and three years and two months respectively. They were jointly and severally obliged to compensate the victim almost €8300 ($14,000). Both are expected to appeal their sentence.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not respond to a request for comment. However, the most recent DFAT Consular State of Play report for 2021-22 said it had assisted 330 cases involving Australians in prison overseas, marking a 5 per cent annual decrease.
The top five countries where Australians were detained in prisons in 2021-22 were China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand and New Zealand.
Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.