Andrew James Swan
Christchurch Press story here
Andrew James Swan's nine years on the run brought fears for his rape victim and her family that he was still out there abusing women. The High Court at Christchurch was told that the victim's father was soon to begin his own hunt for the fugitive. The father said in a victim impact statement read to the court that he had given the police 10 years to find Swan, and would then have hired private detectives.
Swan's years on the run after absconding on bail in Christchurch in 2001 came to an end with a routine traffic stop on the Hutt Motorway in December, the Christchurch Court News website reported. His years in hiding delayed his prison term that began today, but it would also have added something to the length of the sentence. Justice Lester Chisholm ruled that he was able to take the absconding into account as his assessment of the harm caused to the victim of the February 2001 rape.
Swan, now 46, pleaded guilty to the charge of rape last month, changing the not guilty plea he had entered in 2001 when his case went through a deposition hearing before he disappeared. The family of the victim described him as spineless, weak, and a coward for his sexual attack on a vulnerable 18-year-old who was drunk and stoned on cannabis and unable to protect herself at all. "She was extremely drunk, and you knew it and you took advantage of it," Justice Chisholm told Swan as he jailed him for seven-and-a-half years.
The court was told that Swan had met the girl at a party in Christchurch. She was visiting from the North Island for army training, but had become very drunk on alcohol and cannabis and collapsed. After she was put to bed, with the help of Swan, he was found in the bed having sex with her while she lay unconscious. The victim and her family said her personality had changed, and she had not gone ahead with her plans for training and a career in the army.
She was now a solo mother of three, living in the North Island, and undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety. She said she had been fearful and never felt safe during the years when Swan had disappeared. "Every day, I worried that Andrew Swan was out there destroying the lives of other women.'' It was a tremendous relief to hear that he had been arrested. His sentencing would allow some closure and she was optimistic about making good progress.
The victim's father wrote in his statement, addressed to Swan, that he was "constantly wondering and worrying whether you were hurting other people". He said: "I had plans for finding you with private detectives, if the police did not find you by the 10-year mark." He paid tribute to Detective Senior Sergeant Virginia Le Bas who was in court for the sentencing. "You provided our family with great support and never gave up. Thank you very much for your service to our family in finally bringing this coward to justice."
Date of Birth
1964 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Sentenced to 7 years 6 months in May 2010
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Andrew James Swan Sentencing Notes
7 years jail for 'spineless' rapist
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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