The man accused of keeping a woman as a slave in the garage of his family home was an evil predator, a jury heard yesterday.
In his closing address, prosecutor Peter Faris, QC, said Graeme John Slattery, 42, had systematically broken down the woman’s identity to the point where she would do anything he ordered.
“The evidence clearly establishes that Graeme Slattery is a violent man, that he is an evil man. He is a predator who preys upon vulnerable people,” Mr Faris told the Ballarat County Court.
Mr Faris said Slattery had selected the woman in 1996, when she had been recently abandoned by her husband. He then “took control of her life” breaking down her identity with constant punishment, humiliation and violence.
“He’s really trained her like a dog,” Mr Faris said. “She’s totally obedient to him, she had to do what she was told. She could not question him.”
Slattery is accused of raping, beating and psychologically degrading the woman between 1996 and 1999.
He now faces 63 charges after Judge Graeme Crossley yesterday directed the jury to issue not guilty verdicts to six charges because evidence was not led about them in the prosecution case. Slattery has pleaded not guilty to all counts, including 17 charges of assault, 10 of indecent assault and one of rape.
Slattery’s barrister, Nick Papas, had declined to call any defence witnesses. Mr Faris said the defence case was built on the unspoken suggestion that the woman had consented to the abuse by staying with Slattery.
“The message I suggest we’re getting from Mr Papas is she could have left, and she didn’t. Therefore she got what she got, don’t blame him,” he said.
The prosecutor said the woman could not leave Slattery because she had been subjected to brainwashing similar to that experienced by concentration camp victims. She was brutalised, her head shaved and her name taken away, replaced by the demeaning title “toe rag”, which was tattooed on her body, he said.
Mr Faris told the jury the woman had been an impressive witness who was emotional when reliving her experiences but stuck resolutely to her story under strong cross-examination.
Mr Faris urged the jury to remember evidence given on Tuesday by Slattery’s one-time business partner, who said he had seen the woman hosed down and punched by Slattery at the Brighton shop they shared.
The man also said he had seen Slattery urinate on the woman and that Slattery had ordered her to tell him how she had been forced to eat Slattery’s faeces.
The trial continues.