IF THIS MAN had a shred of decency he’d pull his head in. Keep a low profile. Show some remorse. Maybe even apologise to the woman he sexually assaulted in her own home while her husband, his friend, was out.
Also thank his lucky stars -- and his celebrity status – which saw his guilty plea expunged, no conviction recorded, and his name permanently suppressed in his home country.
The self-centred predator I’m talking about (and New Zealanders can’t legally know about) is former All Black Grahame Thorne.
His victim, Louise Hemsley, bravely went on the Sunday program at the weekend to tell her story after having the suppression order on her name lifted. She still couldn’t publicly identify Thorne though under antiquated laws that were designed to protect victims but now protect their assailants.
In a pre-emptive strike, and in a typical show of arrogance, Thorne gave an interview with the Herald on Sunday in which he showed no remorse, claimed the sexual activity was consensual and dismissed his conduct as ‘twenty seconds of madness’.
I presume that’s meant to be interpreted as twenty seconds of ‘mutual madness’ if the encounter was ‘consensual’.
Thorne didn’t have the guts to identify himself in this bid to clear his name in an interview riddled with self-pity and self-righteousness. And didn’t explain why he pleaded guilty (twice) to sex offences if he committed no crime. The second time, in a plea-bargain, that saw him walk free, unconvicted and legally untainted.
just so wrong
As his victim said: ‘How can you plead guilty and get away with nothing? He's just walked away with his head held high basically. It's just so wrong. There is no justice in that at all.’
In the newspaper interview Thorne said he had apologised to his wife and their children. ‘This has almost destroyed my marriage. My daughter and son don't really talk to me. They think I am a crim’.
He said his wife was ‘sort of’ supporting him, but ‘I know exactly how she is feeling’.
Maybe that’s given him an insight into how somebody else’s wife is feeling.
He also whinged: ‘I'm on pills for high blood pressure. I could hardly lift my arm at one stage. I put on 10kg in six months’.
According to Louise Hemsley, this is what happened on the day of Thorne’s ‘twenty seconds of madness’ which actually went on for some minutes. Why she says the former All Black is ‘a dirty bastard and people should know’.
Thorne struck up a friendship with her husband. Over a three-year period, he visited their home half a dozen times, but always with someone else.
On the day of the incident, her husband wasn’t home and she was about to leave to do some shopping with her daughter. When her daughter went to get the mail from the end of the long drive, Thorne followed Louise inside and ‘he just grabbed hold of me from behind. He was tall and towered over me. I said: “What the hell are you doing?” And he said: “But you are so lovely”. It was horrible. His hands were all over me’.
push him off
She said: ‘He kept pushing his tongue in my mouth, pulling my head back and sticking his tongue down into my mouth and I was trying to push him off. His hands were all around my back, his hands down the back of my knickers. I was totally shocked. It took me by surprise. But I wasn't scared because I knew my daughter was about.
'I was trying to push him off and he took my hand and put it on his what's-it and he said to me: “This is what you are doing to me”. I pulled my hand off and said: “Leave ... just go!''
Her husband then arrived home, and the men started chatting. She said she didn’t say anything to her husband about the incident in case he ‘overreacted’.
‘I just felt sick and walked out of the house’. Later she told her husband Brian and they went to the police.
I first broke this story and named Thorne some months ago. Coincidentally, I was in New Zealand on Sunday night to watch Louise Hemsley’s story go to air.
It comes as several other victims have gone to court to have suppression orders on their names lifted and as they try to get the restrictions lifted from the names of their attackers.
Ruth Money from the Sensible Sentencing Trust said: ‘The suppression rules need to be reviewed. You are innocent until proven guilty but once you have been proven guilty, why is your name suppressed? Why is your name hidden?’
Why indeed. On both sides of the ditch it is a travesty of justice.
Footnote: Keep this in mind when contemplating the mindset of Grahame Thorne. Four years ago, another former All Black, Robin Brooke, was accused of groping a 15-year-old girl in Fiji on New Year’s Eve and assaulting a 17-year-old male who tried to intervene on her behalf. He was not charged but apologised for his behaviour on New Zealand television.
When his name came out, another woman claimed that when she was 18 she awoke to find Brooke having sex with her after a test match against Australia in Christchurch in 1998.
Asked for his comments on that case, Grahame Throne said the revelations about Brooke had made him question his past.
‘I did think “did I actually rape anyone?” I was worried, but it never happened. Sometimes you don’t know whether you did actually do it, in the sense of where the line is. But no-one ever, ever complained’.
Somebody did this time.