From Dominion Post story 20th December 2003
A Navy veteran whose stint in the forces left him with post traumatic stress disorder, after witnessing airborne nuclear explosions over Christmas Island, has been jailed for four years and six months for sexually abusing his daughter. Philip Mercer, 65, a pensioner, of Titahi Bay, had pleaded guilty to a representative charge of rape and two of indecent assault from the 1970s and 80s. Wellington District Court Judge Bruce Davidson said yesterday that between 1974 and 1983, Mercer assaulted one of his daughters on almost a daily basis, touching her and eventually raping her. Mercer had admitted it to police when a complaint was laid in June this year and showed evidence of delusional thinking, the court was told. He had rationalised his offending and told police that his daughter had been abused when she was very young and he felt he needed to teach her the natural beauty of sex.
Judge Davidson said his delusions may have stemmed in part from being exposed to radiation when he was forced to stand on the deck of a warship as a naval rating and watched nuclear detonations. The emotional and psychological difficulties from his experiences could have led to his unusual and delusional belief systems. Mercer had also suffered physically. He had been discharged from the navy because of disability after the detonations and had suffered severe skin cancers as a result of radiation. His first daughter was born with Down syndrome and he wanted compensation for her. The effect on the victim was incalculable and almost certainly irreparable.
Judge Davidson jailed Mercer for four years and six months and ordered him to make an emotional harm payment to his daughter of $6000. He refused to continue suppression of Mercer's name - his daughter had also asked that it be lifted. Lawyer for Mercer, Sandy Baigent, said Mercer's war pension would probably be stopped while he was in prison but he had some money to put toward any payment to his victim. Mercer was genuinely sorry and it was only now, after starting a programme for sex offenders, that he was confronted by the effects of his behaviour. He knew he needed to be punished, Ms Baigent said.
Date of Birth
Rape and indecent assault (x2) of his daughters on a regular basis between 1974 and 1983
At large in Wanganui
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to 4 years 6 months in December 2003
Released August 2007
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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